One of the joys of early summer is seeing gorgeous big heads of broccoli “crowning” above the leaves. After you’ve cut the central head, the fun is just beginning. Keep replenishing fertile mulch around the plants and keep them watered, and soon a ring of side shoots will appear above the foliage. Cut the shoots with their long stems, being careful not to harm the main stem of the plant. Rinse them off and peel the stems carefully with a vegetable peeler. Steam to taste. In my opinion, broccoli should be steamed for eight minutes, and raw broccoli is not a vegetable at all. Your mileage may vary.
My favorite way to eat these long elegant stalks is with a quasi-Korean dipping sauce. I was particularly hungry and added a fried egg (double-yolked, so I got a bonus) and drizzled it with the dipping sauce too. The sauce is flavored with gochujang, a lovely deep-flavored fermented sweet chile paste that is unlike any other form of chile. Currently the only brand of gochujang I use is from the quirky company Mother-in-Law’s Kimchee.it contains rice powder and sugar and has some carbs, but you don’t use that much and it doesn’t have any corn syrup. I make this sauce by the pint and keep it in the refrigerator. The recipe as given here makes just over one cup.
The sweeteners that I use are oligofructose, a chicory root derivative, and liquid stevia, because I’m a ketogenic eater. If you don’t worry about carbs, you can just add sugar to taste at the boiling stage. If you do use oligofructose, I recommend the Sweet Perfection brand. Other brands have a bitter taste to me.
3×1″ piece of ginger, peeled
8 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons gochujang depending on your heat preference
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Sweet Perfection oligofructose
Drops of liquid stevia to taste
Chop the ginger and garlic while a small saucepan heats up over medium heat. When hot, add the coconut oil, let it heat a minute or two, and add the chopped ginger and garlic. Stir-fry until they are cooked and fragrant but haven’t colored at all. Add the rice vinegar and soy sauce, bring to a boil, and slowly pour in the oligofructose with your nondominant hand while whisking rapidly with your dominant hand. It will form awful clumps if not handled this way. When it is all incorporated, remove the pan from the heat, let stand at least ten minutes to cool, and add liquid stevia just 2-3 drops at a time, tasting to make sure you don’t go too far. Serve in neat small bowls with nearly any meat or vegetable that could use some quick perking up. It seems tailor-made for broccoli, but a big glug poured over rapidly stir-fried greens is also pretty damn good, especially with chopped hard-boiled egg on top to complete the meal, and a salad of leftover thinly sliced steak or chicken, fresh sliced romaine, and this sauce as a dressing makes a beautiful lunch.