For perfectly tender yet brilliantly green broccoli, nothing beats the microwave. And while it may seem obvious to some, microwave-steamed broccoli has not made it onto our radar (pun intended) until recently. We’ve always used a stovetop steamer with haphazard results, finding it hard to catch that moment of exact doneness. Yet with the microwave, we can reach that moment as quickly as 3 minutes after pressing “start.” Miraculous.
We picked up this tip from our son-in-law Gordy Stephenson. Now, he creates deliciously spicy and saucy dishes that take simmering and care, including the world’s best saag paneer (curried greens with cheese). But when our little grandsons clamor for dinner, he delights them with these simple veggies in a flash. They gobble up his picturebook-perfect steamed broccoli as if it were candy.
And it couldn’t be simpler. Just cut broccoli into florets or leave as much stalk as you like. Put it into a microwave-safe bowl and add some water. It doesn’t take much—maybe a quarter cup per head. You don’t even need to cover it. Cook on high for about 3 minutes then check for doneness. Depending upon your microwave and the amount you’re cooking, you may need to zap a bit more to reach the desired tenderness. “Sometimes I put in half a bowl of water, which sort of boils it instead of steaming,” says Gordy, and it comes out great. So this is not so much a recipe as a technique you work out with your trusty microwave.
Season with salt, pepper, butter or whatever you like. The gorgeous result will make you wonder why you never tried this before—once again confirming the “science oven” as the cooking tool of the future.