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How to cook tasty broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage

April 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and red cabbage are all cruciferous veggies that we should eat but often don't because preparing them can be daunting. One local chef shows us how to turn yucky into yummy.

Larry Nicola, owner of Nic's Beverly Hills, suggests a trip to the farmers market to get excited about some of the least-liked veggies.

"I like to kind of get out of the box a little bit, and I think it first starts with learning about these vegetables," said Nicola.

In their natural form, they're hard, dense and chewy, so Nicola says you need to slice them up a little bit, add a little sauce, and go well beyond boiling.

"Grilling, sautéing, blanching them so they're bright green, makes it even more interesting," said Nicola.

Take broccoli or broccolini and blanch it, meaning a quick boil and then shock it in cold water. Put it in a sassy marinade. But if texture bothers you, blend up a tasty soup.

"You just keep the soup simple. You don't need butter, you don't need creams. You just take sautéed onion, a little garlic. Sauté the vegetable, chicken stock, puree, salt and pepper," said Nicola.

When it comes to Brussels sprouts, Nicola uses the leaves to make a tasty salad. Add some almonds, tangerines, salt and pepper, and then toss with a sesame, soy, ginger dressing.

Or you can use them in grilled kebabs of Brussels sprouts, chicken, tomato and a little bit of cumin for spice.

For red cabbage, he uses an Eastern European influence where bacon is involved.

"You cook it down with bacon, apples for sweetness, onions, a little bit of vinegar," said Nicola.

He cooks it down for about a half hour. He adds a dollop of sour cream and sausage for a complete dish.