Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables because of its incredible versatility. It can be found year round in your grocery store and is always affordable. It is a great item to keep in your fridge because it can be ready to eat in a matter of minutes. It also is an incredible source of nutrients to keep your eyes healthy.
Broccoli is full of antioxidants and nutrients that are essential for healthy eyes. One of the most important nutrients found in broccoli, in regards to ocular health, is lutein. This nutrient is categorized as a carotenoid, which is incredibly beneficial for your eyes and healthy skin. A diet including lutein is needed in order to maintain good vision. Lutein accounts for 50 percent of all carotenoids found in broccoli. Other nutrients found in broccoli include beta-carotene, neoxanthin and antheraxanthin.
Broccoli can be prepared in numerous ways such as steamed, eaten raw, roasted, blanched and even sautéed. My favorite way to prepare broccoli it is by blanching it off. Blanching means adding the broccoli to a large pot of boiling, salted water for a short period of time, and then shocking it in ice water. By doing this you are not only preserving the beautiful, bright green color, but also leaving the broccoli with a light snap instead of limp and lifeless. Broccoli is delicious thrown into fresh pasta, or even just served on the side. Whatever way you decide to serve your broccoli with is great; just remember that your eyes will be thanking you.
Broccoli Tartine with Herbed Ricotta
- 1 large head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 16 oz. ricotta
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch parsley, minced very fine
- 6 basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Pecorino cheese, grated
- Pine nuts, toasted
- 1 loaf of crusty bread (baguette/French bread), cut at a bias into thick slices
- Salt and pepper
- Blanch broccoli in a large pot of salted, boiling water until slightly tender. Remove from water and put into large bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Do not leave in water more than a minute or broccoli will be come water-logged.
- Make herbed ricotta by adding 2 minced garlic cloves, herbs, lemon zest, chili flakes and salt and pepper. Leave out at room temperature.
- Toast off pine nuts, and your slices of bread that have been cut at a bias. I lightly oiled my bread before toasting.
- Before assembling the tartine add broccoli back to a sauté pan along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and remaining garlic clove. Cook until broccoli is hot and fragrant with garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
- Assemble tartine with all ingredients. First smear the herbed ricotta on top of the bread for a delicious base/glue to keep it all together. Now add your broccoli, pine nuts and garnish with grated Pecorino cheese and a slight drizzle of olive oil.