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Baby broccoli has spear-shaped, thin and tender vibrant green stalks with wavy pine-sage colored leaves. The head is a petite cluster of florets that closely resemble broccoli rabe. Compared to mature broccoli, the flavor of baby broccoli is understated, mild, peppery and subtlely sweet. The entire plant is edible.
Baby Broccoli is available from Coastal Organics in the winter and spring.
Broccoli is of the Brassica oleracea species. It is often called a brassica or cruciferous vegetable from the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family, which also includes cabbage, mustard, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and cauliflower. Broccoli grows in two common forms: broccoli calabrese (sprouting broccoli) and heading broccoli, which is also known as cauliflower broccoli, as its shape resembles the same dense curd shape as cauliflower. Baby broccoli is sprouting broccoli that is harvested while the plant is still immature. It should not be confused with broccolini.
Broccoli has been widely known to be a valuable source of carotenoids that have antioxidant properties capable of preventing and reducing risks of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
Baby broccoli is more versatile than mature broccoli as it is more tender. Baby broccoli can be sauteed, steamed, roasted, grilled and fried. It makes a great appetizer, pasta or risotto ingredient and pizza topping. Baby broccoli's flavor marries well with butter, olive oil, lemon, lime, light-bodied vinegars, garlic, tomatoes, chiles, olives, cured meats such as pancetta and prosciutto, flaky white fish, herbs such as basil and rosemary, hard cheeses such as parmesan and pecorino or fresh cheeses such as chevre and feta.
Baby Broccoli is locally grown at Coastal Organics in Oxnard, California.
Recipes that include Baby Broccoli. One is easiest, three is harder.