As I was steaming broccoli, my middle son walked in the front door and groaned. He ran down the hallway and into the bedroom, trying to escape the undeniable broccoli smell that permeated that house. I found him lying on my bed, under the covers, trying unsuccessfully to hide from the odor. "Make it go away," he demanded. "I hate broccoli!" I laughed and apologized for stinking up the place. Oh, the hardships of having a food writer for a mother.
As much as I want to remind him of how lucky he is to have food on his plate or how fortunate we are to have access to fresh vegetables, I pause and remember what it was like to be a kid. My most-hated childhood vegetable was spinach, cooked down to a dark, soggy pile of mush and slopped onto my plate. No amount of butter or salt and pepper could make me like the stuff. This is how my son probably feels about steamed broccoli.
But, if you're a broccoli lover like me, you'll probably love this quick side dish. I've been making broccoli with cashew garlic sauce for years and have had several requests for the recipe. It's super simple to make this quick sauce while the broccoli is steaming. It's got acidity and umami and a little sweetness, not to mention the great crunch from the cashews.
Broccoli with cashew garlic sauce
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
4 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup salted cashews, finely chopped
Steam the broccoli florets, 5-7 minutes, or until crisp-tender, being careful not to overcook. Meanwhile, in a small pan, melt the butter. Stir in the garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and pepper. Add the cashews and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved and the sauce is heated through. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and stir to coat. Serve promptly while hot.
Maya Wilson lives in Kenai and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email email@example.com and your inquiry may appear in a future column.