Basil Broccoli

Sometimes creating recipes is like dating. You have to know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. I recently broke up with a chopped broccoli dish because we had no chemistry. It just wasn’t happening. I might have been depressed if not for another broccoli suitor that swept me off my feet. This guy—well, as mom likes to say, he cleans up nice. Maybe it’s the company he keeps as well; surrounding himself with fresh basil, red bell peppers, a little lemon . . . they’re a sprightly crowd, fun to hang with, and healthy, too, full of anti-inflammatories and other anticancer properties.

Serves 4

1 bunch of broccoli
sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper or cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut the broccoli florets off the stalks, then peel the stems and cut them into bite-size pieces. Add a pinch of salt and the broccoli florets and stems to the pot of water and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain the broccoli, then run it under cold water to stop the cooking process; this will retain its lush green color.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds, just until aro- matic. Add the bell pepper and a pinch of salt and sauté for an addi- tional minute. Stir in the broccoli florets and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and sauté for 2 minutes; the broccoli should still be firm. Gently stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and basil and serve immediately.

Prep time: 10 minutes • Cook time: 5 minutes storage: store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days. per serving: Calories: 125; total Fat: 7.7 g (1.1 g saturated, 5.4 g monounsaturated); Carbohydrates: 13 g; protein: 5 g; Fiber: 5 g; sodium: 125 mg

Rebecca’s Notes: No skimping on the basil! Not only does it contain powerful antioxidant properties, basil combined with the broccoli and the peppers or tomatoes really takes the flavor over the top. the combination of the bright green of the broccoli and the red of the bell peppers is beautiful, making this dish a feast for the eyes. be sure to add the lemon juice and zest just before serving, as the lemon will dampen the color of the broccoli if it sits for more than a few minutes.

(Photo Credit: Leo Gong)

Reprinted with permission from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery. Copyright © 2009 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA.