Young Broccoli and Kohlrabi
Isn’t that lovely? It was in my CSA share. When you see broccoli this young, you remember that it is a flower. I was half tempted to tie a ribbon around the stems to make a nosegay!
But – cooking it, now… It was so slender and tender I didn’t want to steam it. I usually don’t like cooking broccoli with dry heat, as I find the outside is overcooked to my taste while the stalk is still tough, but this could be sauteed. There wasn’t enough of it for a meal, though, so what could I add? Well, I had equally young and tender kohlrabi. I’d been planning to use it in salad, but decided I could spare one bulb – and a scallion – for this.
I washed and trimmed all the vegetables – remember that kohlrabi must be peeled fairly deeply to remove a thick fibrous skin. (You can easily see the part that needs peeling.) Then I cut them up – slices for the scallion, and small cubes for the kohlrabi. I kept the broccoli florets intact, and cut the stems.
Meanwhile, I set a cast iron pan on medium heat. I wanted the pan to heat evenly, and be hot enough to slightly sear the vegetables, but not burn them. Once it was hot, and the vegetables were cut, I added a little oil, and a dab of chili garlic paste (which you may omit, if you don’t want the heat.) I rapidly stirred the chili around in the oil – and the pan was hot enough that I did get some fumes from it! – then added the vegetables. I continued stirring rapidly for a minute, to coat the vegetables with the flavored oil, then spread them out evenly on the pan and let them rest. I lowered the heat just slightly – low medium, about where I’d keep a pot of soup on a rapid simmer. I wanted to slightly sear the vegetables, but not to let them actually burn.
After about two minutes, I stirred the vegetables again, to bring the other sides into contact with the pan. Again, I let it rest about two minutes, then stirred – continue with that process until they are cooked to your taste. I chose a tender crisp, so they were done at this point – probably about five minutes in all.
It turns out that broccoli and kohlrabi taste delicious together – I’ll have to try the combination, though probably a different technique, next winter! The chili added almost an aftertaste of heat – not obvious in the first bite, but a bloom of flavor. And I never would have put this combination together if I’d had enough broccoli for both of us – I love the serendipity of the CSA!
Pan sear young vegetables for a delicate crisp-tender burst of flavor.
5 minPrep Time
7 minCook Time
12 minTotal Time
- Young broccoli
- Olive oil for pan
- chili garlic paste
- Wash, trim and cut up roughly equal amounts of broccoli and kohlrabi, and about half as much scallion as either of them. (Exact amounts and proportions will vary, depending on how much you have, and how many people you serve.)
- Heat a heavy pan until it is evenly hot. Add the oil and chili garlic paste, and stir rapidly. Add the vegetables, stir to coat with oil, and let rest about two minutes to start to sear. Stir again every two minutes, and test for doneness - time will vary by the tenderness of the vegetables and your taste - I had a perfect tender crisp in about five minutes.