Broccoli is another of the many culinary gifts Italy has given the world. In Italian, Broccoli is the plural form of “Brocco”, which means “Shoot.”
This form of cabbage was well-known in Ancient Rome. As a matter of fact, an enticing broccoli recipe is part of the book De Re Coquinaria, one of the earliest cookbooks in recorded history. According to this evidence, Romans loved to eat their broccoli boiled and flavored with cumin, coriander, chopped onion, oil and wine.
Broccoli remained an Italian delicacy until the 16th century. It was then that Caterina de Medici (who was part of the Medici family, a powerful Italian dynasty during the Renaissance) married Henry II of France in 1533. Back then Florentine cuisine was more sophisticated than French cuisine, and Caterina brought with her cooks and new ingredients, broccoli among them. The French weren’t appreciative and saddled Caterina with the mocking nickname “The Grocer.”
This veggie crossed the channel and became known in England as well. The connection with Italy remained strong, and broccoli was called “Italian asparagus”, according to Miller’s Garder’s dictionary of 1724. Two centuries later, in 1922, two Italian immigrants from Messina (Sicily) brought broccoli seeds to California, where broccoli was farmed for the first time in the United States.
Broccoli Has an Interesting Nutritional Profile
This vegetable has a very interesting nutrient profile. In fact, it’s high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and potassium. It also contains antioxidants, which may protect from different types of cancer.
Broccoli can contribute to lower cholesterol levels, an effect linked with reduced risk of heart disease. It can also help improve eye health because it contains beta carotene, that the body converts into vitamin A, which can boost eyesight.
A Storied and Nutritious Vegetable
At Chef Gourmet we appreciate this nutritious and storied vegetable. Steamed broccoli is one of the enticing and healthy options included in our Gourmet Prepared Meals.
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