What is it?
These mature leaves of the broccoli plant have a subtly sweet, mild broccoli flavor. If allowed to grow, those little leaves that you’ve been trimming from your broccoli become big, thick, and ruffle-edged. Full of vitamins and calcium, they’re sometimes available at farmers’ markets (if the farmers haven’t saved them for themselves), but commercial growers have mainly been chopping them up for mulch, until now.
Broccoli leaves are wonderful in soups and stews. They can also be roasted into chips, used in place of lettuce for hand-held wraps, stir-fried, sautéed and tossed with pasta, or puréed into a sweeterthan- average pesto. And they pair well with acidic fruits, like berries and citrus, in juices and smoothies.
Broccoli leaves taste good with many of the same flavors that go with broccoli; garlic, lemon, and aged cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano are all tasty. They’re great with smoky pork flavors, like bacon, and mild meats, like chicken. Traditional Asian flavors like soy sauce and ginger also make good accents.
How to choose:
Look for firm, evenly colored leaves with no holes in them.
How to store:
Store unwashed broccoli leaves in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. The leaves are hardy and can last for up to 2 weeks. If they wilt a little, trim the stems and stick them in a glass of water in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the stems and rinse the leaves just before eating.
In this hearty take on tortellini en brodo, a piece of Parmigiano rind lends its savory flavor to the broth and complements the earthy sweetness of the greens. You can…