Broccolini may officially be my favorite vegetable. For the past few years I assumed it was baby broccoli when in fact it’s a trademarked hybrid of the Mann Produce Company. The combination of broccoli and gai lan, also known as chinese kale, creates a sweet and tender veggie with hints of asparagus and a mild broccoli bite. It’s delicate nature allows for a brief cooking time or just eating it raw.
In this recipe I use an ingredient called sweet soy sauce glaze. This product made by Kikkoman, has a touch of sugar and creates a beautiful caramelization on meat or vegetables. If you can’t find this product in your store, use soy sauce with brown sugar to taste.
What’s the very best part of this dish? It’s festive! The green and red vegtables lend themselves to the holiday season and the fresh, yet salty, nutty flavor is a burst of yummy in your mouth and accompanies any entrée.
If you can’t find broccolini, broccoli is a great substitute. Here’s a quick tutorial by Cook’s Illustrated on how to remove florets:
1. Lay a head of broccoli with closely bunched branches on it’s side, and use a chef’s knife to cut off the florets about ½ inch below their heads.
2. When working with a head of broccoli with widely spaced branches, stand the broccoli upside down and use a chef’s knife to trim off the florets close to their heads. Break the large florets into bite sized pieces, snapping them apart where individual clusters meet.
- 4 cups (about 12 ounces) of chopped broccolini or broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 Tablespoon sweet soy sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
- In a wok or large skillet, heat the sesame oil on high. Add walnuts, a cook for one minute while constantly stirring. Reduce heat to medium. Add broccolini and cook for 3 minutes (4 minutes for broccoli). Add soy sauce and red pepper, cook for one more minute on high or until broccolini is lightly caramelized.