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The most important thing to remember when making steamed broccoli is to keep a tender crispness to the cooked vegetable. The color should be bright green and the texture tender, but with a fresh crispness to it. A soggy texture and dull avocado green color is unappealing in broccoli, and both should be avoided when steaming this vegetable. The broccoli may be made in a pot with a lid and a vegetable steamer may be used inside the pot.
Washed broccoli florets and sliced stems should be placed inside the steamer, if using. Water should be added to the pot until it comes up just past the base of the steamer. If a steamer isn't used, the fresh broccoli pieces should be added directly to the cooking pot. Water that reaches less than halfway up the broccoli pieces should be poured into the pot. The best pot to use when making steamed broccoli is a deep one to allow steam to gather between the top of the vegetable and the underside of the lid.
It's important not to use too much water when steaming broccoli. If too much water is used in the pot, the result becomes a boiled, rather than a steamed, vegetable. As the water level must be so low, it's crucial not to leave the steamed broccoli unattended. Water should be brought to a boil on high heat, with the stove burner then turned down to medium so that the broccoli water slowly simmers. The lid may be lifted occasionally to check the water level to avoid boiling the pot dry, which can cause a fire.
To promote even steaming, the broccoli florets and stem pieces should be about the same size. Broccoli stems can be delicious when steamed, but they should be sliced fairly thin so that they can cook at the same time as the florets. The amount of time that steamed broccoli will take will depend on the size of the vegetable pieces. Typically, the time will be between five and seven minutes, but the broccoli should be checked every couple of minutes. A great way to check for tender crispness, other than seeing a bright green color, is to try piercing a few of the stem and floret pieces with a fork to see if the tines just go into the broccoli without much resistance.
While some people enjoy steamed broccoli with nothing added, others prefer to add butter, salt and pepper. Many people, including children who otherwise may not want to eat the vegetable, like to top the steamed vegetable with a cheese sauce. Lemon juice and slivered almonds are other toppings to consider using after steaming broccoli.
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