Broccolini, my new vegetable love

I don’t even remember why I bought it. Maybe I was going to buy broccoli rabe, but it was more expensive, or FreshDirect just had it on sale last week. Either way, I recently bought two bunches of broccolini. Or Broccolini® as I’m sure Mann Packing, its distributor, would rather I refer to it.

It looks like broccoli and it tastes… almost like broccoli, but better somehow. Sweeter, I guess, and also somewhat… familiar.


As it turns out, broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale, also known as kai-lan, gai-lan, or gai lohn.

I love kai-lan, and for a while I was semi-obsessed with it. When we lived in Brooklyn, about five years ago, my husband and I (and technically the kid, although in utero at the time) would make regular trips to Big Wong’s and always order the roast pork on rice, which came with kai-lan dressed with oyster sauce — and I would scarf that down as fast as my pregnancy-swollen fingers could manage.

Broccolini… I think I may like even more. A rinse and a chop and it’s in whatever you’re cooking. It turns this amazing, almost lurid green after just a couple minutes of cooking. It cooks really fast but it doesn’t go all mushy either.

fried rice with ham and broccolini

As you can see, I put it into fried rice with (even more) leftover ham.

I’m generally a flop at fried rice or stir-fries, because I always misjudge how long things need to cook and then I end up with half overcooked, half undercooked ingredients. The broccolini worked out perfectly, though — which was great, because I think I broke my brain writing three essays for my application to The New School. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much over anything in my entire life.

Anyway, it’s done now, and now I have to write this week’s Accidental Hedonist post. It’s going to be about bees. Seriously.

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8 thoughts on “Broccolini, my new vegetable love

  1. Have you tried brocciflower? It’s a hybrid of, yep, broccoli and cauliflower. Has the nice, dense form of cauliflower without the anemic whiteness. Actually a pleasing green, paler than broccoli. The blended taste is very nice too.

    Good luck on your app to The New School. If they have any sense at all, you’re in for sure.

  2. Broccolini looks amazing – I’m going to have to go and try to find some of that.
    We get those pointy green cauliflowers in our local shop… it’s such a change from the pale stuff.

    Try purple sprouting too – that’s also very yummy.

    Do you think thick broccoli stems taste just like kohl rabi? I’ve got a friend who eats them raw!

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