In our search for the “next kale,” we decided to turn over a new leaf — Broccoleaf.
As its name implies, this newcomer to the supermarket vegetable aisle comes from the leaves of immature broccoli plants. While the crown is still forming, the young leaves are hand harvested without harming the plant, thus giving two harvests to the same broccoli crop.
Salinas-based Foxy Produce is introducing organically grown Broccoleaf to California supermarkets this winter. Initially test-marketed in the coastal areas around Monterey, Broccoleaf is slowly making its way inland. We got hold of a bunch and tried Broccoleaf out.
These large blue-green leaves used to be composted back into the soil, but they’re actually a very nutritious vegetable on their own. What does Broccoleaf taste like? Not surprisingly, a lot like broccoli.
The juicy stems are very crunchy; sauteed or steamed, they taste (and look) just like broccoli stalks but without the florets. The ruffled leaves are similar to kale, but with a milder flavor and less curl. Baked in the oven, the leaves make flat and crunchy chips. They stir-fry quickly, but also can be slowly braised to bring out their rich earthiness.
Just like broccoli, Broccoleaf can be eaten raw. In addition, the succulent stems and leaves are full of moisture, making them ideal for juicing.
Is Broccoleaf the next kale? Who knows? But if you like broccoli, you’ll enjoy Broccoleaf, too.
Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.