Eat Your Broccoli
By: Martha Rose Shulman
When my son was younger he was happy to eat broccoli every day, as so many children are. I would steam it and drizzle vinaigrette over it; that was the way he liked it best. But by the time he was a teenager he grew tired of broccoli; he never wanted it, so I stopped buying it. He has always been a good vegetable eater, so I didn’t mind; I didn’t really miss broccoli either.
But now Liam is away at school, and I can experiment with broccoli as much as I want. I am suddenly quite interested in this vegetable that I, too, had grown a bit bored with. It all began with Melissa Clark’s Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad, that a friend prepared for a Sukkot dinner. Before eating that salad, I had never been much of a fan of uncooked broccoli. But when it marinates in a lemony dressing, the florets cure a little without losing their color. I went right out and bought some broccoli the next morning and used it, uncooked, in a lemony salad with quinoa and some purslane that I’d bought on impulse at the farmers’ market.
Whether you enjoy your broccoli raw or cooked, you will benefit from its many nutrients. In addition to the sulfur-containing phytonutrients that all members of the brassica family contain, broccoli is a good source of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to protect the eyes against macular degeneration. It is also an excellent source of vitamins C, A, K, folate, and fiber, and a very good source of manganese, tryptophan, potassium, b-vitamins, magnesium, omega 3’s, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin E.
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