Seasonal Inflorescents - Shopping & Cooking

Artichoke
Broccoli Family
Cauliflower

Artichokes

There are two main types: perennials, which can be 40-year-old plants that bloom year after year, and fresh, new plants that are only harvested for a single season.

Perennials have thicker, waxier leaves, but their flavor is better and their hearts are bigger. Fresh, new artichokes are small and beautiful with thin leaves, but their flavor is milder and their hearts are smaller.

Look for: Tightly packed, healthy leaves. They should slightly squeek when you squeeze them. For larger hearts, choose those with larger, waxier leaves. Avoid ones with all-opened or woody-textured leaves as well as those with a black colored cut stem (stored too long).

Storage: Refrigerate fresh artichokes for up to a week.

What's Cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
Classic preparation: Steam whole for about 25 minutes and serve hot with a dipping sauce, aioli, or vinaigrette.

  • Grilled flatbread w/ artichokes, winter greens & fontina val d'aosta ('genuine' fontina cheese from the French/Swiss border) -- Leslie Carr at Universal Café
  • Roasted whole branzini (Mediterranean sea bass) w/ braised artichoke hearts & leeks -- Ross Browne at Absinthe
  • Fresh paparadelle with artichoke, hot peppers & pecorino -- Michael Tusk at Quince
  • Pickled artichoke with golden acorn squash, parmigiano reggiano & olive oil -- same as above
  • Farm chicken breast with polenta & artichokes -- Charlie Hallowell at Pizzaiolo
  • Braised prime beef shortrib w/ artichokes, cannellini beans, bone marrow -- Stuart Brioza at Rubicon

BROCCOLI
BROCCOLINI
CHINESE BROCCOLI
BROCCOLI ROMANESCO

Broccoli Family

Aside from common broccoli, broccolini (aka baby broccoli) is a cross between broccoli and Chinese broccoli, Chinese broccoli (aka Chinese kale) has broad leaves and long, thick, crisp stems, broccoli di cicco has a small central head with many side florettes, and broccoli romenesco has florets in the shape of pine cones. (Broccoli rabe is in the Greens/Stalks section.)

All types are good steamed, boiled or stir-fried. Young, tender pieces are good raw, especially broccoli romensco. Peel stems of common broccoli before cooking.

Look for: Tight/compact buds, deep/even color, and small/firm stems. Avoid large, thick, light-colored stalks; they're often overgrown and tough.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag. Wash before use.

What's Cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Broccoli di ciccio & little gem lettuces w/ lemon-anchovy vinaigrette & cracked olives -- Chris Cosentino at Incanto
  • Penne, pancetta, broccoli di cicco & cherry tomatoes -- Mark Gordon at Rose's Café
  • Grilled yellowfin tuna w/ broccoli di cicco, butterball potatoes & anchovy vinaigrette -- Peter Erickson at 1550 Hyde Café & Wine Bar
.

.


Cauliflower

Available year-round, but best in the colder months.

A relative to broccoli, cauliflower are rich in vitamins and minerals. (One serving has a whole day's requirement of vitamin C.)

Look for: Heads that are heavy for their size with creamy white curds and bright green leaves that are firmly attached.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag. Wash before use.

What's Cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Cauliflower w/ pickled beets and sauce grabiche -- Charlie Hallowell at Pizzaiolo
  • Tortelloni of cauliflower, roe & amandine potato w/ orange butter sauce -- Michael Tusk at Quince
  • Maine diver scallops w/ purée of cauliflower, currant & pinenut relish, caper emulsion -- Robert Lewis at Jardiniere
  • Grilled salmon, cipollini, cauliflower & artichoke tart, Maine lobster, Meyer Lemon -- Matthew Christianson at Lark Creen Inn