Perfect Steamed Broccoli with Caper-Raisin Vinaigrette

March  5, 2018
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

I love steamed broccoli! (There, I said it.)

It's sweeter and more purely vegetal than its roasted counterparts, with a structure that merits some chewing. I'll go out on a limb and call steamed broccoli refreshing. I'm careful not to over-steam—I aim for bright-green and far from mushy—and I love to toss it with an assertive dressing. Because the florets are full and open, rather than shriveled and singed, each one is like a little sponge, ready to absorb anything you drizzle or dip. And without the distraction of any rich caramelization (those are words I never thought I'd write!), steamed broccoli is an ideal vehicle for any sauce that's good enough to drink. In this case, it's the caper-raisin vinaigrette (sharp *and* sweet) from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden. McFadden's original recipe calls for one 2-ounce can of anchovies, drained, which get added with the capers. To make this vegetarian friendly, I omit the anchovies and add a little more salt but if you're a anchovy fiend, you might want to give it a go.
Sarah Jampel

  • Serves 2
  • For the vinaigrette (makes about 3/4 cup):
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 3/4 cup lightly-packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the broccoli:
  • 1 medium head broccoli (scale up as needed!)
In This Recipe
  1. For the vinaigrette (makes about 3/4 cup):
  2. Put the vinegar and raisins in a little bowl and let the raisins plump for about 30 minutes.
  3. Put the garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely minced, scraping sides of bowl down as needed.
  4. Add the capers and pulse until you have a coarse paste. Add the parsley and pulse until completely chopped. Add the raisins and vinegar and pulse until the mixture is blended but still slightly coarse. Whisk in olive oil and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Store in the fridge for up to a week.
  1. For the broccoli:
  2. Cut into medium florets (it's okay to leave some long, thin stems) and steam for 4 to 6 minutes, just until bright green. The broccoli should still be firm and solid (not mushy!).
  3. Dress with vinaigrette, then doctor as needed (maybe with a fried egg, or toasted panko breadcrumbs, shavings of Parmesan cheese, or torn roast chicken).

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