You know how it is when you start dating someone… You put your best face forward. You wear clothes they might like. You make their favorite foods (my Brussels Sprouts post kind of drives that point home). You listen to every tiny detail – every like and dislike – and try to incorporate those likes into your everyday life with that person (and desperately avoid those dislikes). You go out of your way to impress them. Hopefully some of these niceties never change throughout the relationship. Thankfully, though, some of them do.
Case in point – early in our dating relationship, my now-husband happened to mention in passing that he loved broccoli. That’s great! So do I, I thought. Then he mentioned how he loves the soft and squishy texture of cooked broccoli. Uh oh. Now we’ve got a problem. Throughout my travels, I’ve learned a thing or two about food and how it’s served differently in different parts of the country. I was born and raised in the southwest and generally, vegetables are served fresh, lightly cooked, with a touch of salt and a pat of butter. That’s how I like my broccoli. Those in the mid-west, it seems, tend to prefer vegetables cooked more thoroughly, and often saturated with gooey cheese (not that there’s anything wrong with that…). Those in the south like veggies coated with bacon grease (and who can blame them for that?? Yum!) So, given my husband’s mid-western roots, I decided to impress him and go for the “thoroughly” cooked broccoli method (sans the cheese) the next time he joined the family for dinner.
So I steamed it, and steamed it, and steamed it. I steamed it until that big beautiful bunch of bright green broccoli florets turned into a condensed, dark grey-green, handful of mush. I’m pretty sure you could drink it through a straw. My family wasn’t prepared for this (I recall getting a bunch of sideways stares and furrowed brows as they tried to eat it). I wasn’t prepared for this. Frankly, even Paul wasn’t prepared for this (I even managed to botch the traditional mid-western how to make broccoli cooking technique). It was bad. Very bad. Paul, of course, dutifully ate it, but I did see him wince as he forced it down his gullet. That’s the last time I ever tried to impress Paul with my cooking. And he’s been impressed ever since.
So I returned to the “how to make broccoli basics.” It’s oh so simple. And oh so delicious. Fresh, a little tender, a little crisp, with a little butter and a little salt. It doesn’t get much better than this. A brief sauté followed by a brief steam yields the perfect bunch of green, wholesome, flavorful broccoli that will likely impress all (no matter where they reside). Lesson learned. It turns out that the easiest way to impress someone is to just be yourself. And if that doesn’t work, it’s time to move on to someone else.
And if you know someone who needs to learn how to make broccoli, this is the recipe for them! Feel free to Share it, Tweet it, Pin it, or Yum it!