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Broccoli with Oregano Infused Olive Oil

Posted Jun 20 2009 11:08pm

Before I begin, I must digress and tell y'all about the incredibly cool present that Miss Brenda, Zach's mom, gave us for Christmas last year - a vintage Tupperware microwave steamer!

Not only does this clever tool appeal to my fondness for all things vintage kitchen-ware (some girls long for vintage Oscar de la Renta dresses, I long for vintage Pyrex), but it makes veggie steaming the absolute easiest process imaginable... and, during sticky summer days such as these (it's reached 98 degrees already this morning!), I don't even have to fire up the stove-top to steam something light and lovely and green...

(One of my favorite vintage Fire King dishes... :-)

We're especially fond of steamed broccoli, and while we often are in raptures over the simple flavor magic that occurs when steamed broccoli is sprinkled just with lemon juice, salt, and pepper, last night our herb garden called as I was transferring the broccoli into the steamer.

Our garden soil's natural condition is pure Georgia clay. Thick and red, Georgia clay is capable of rapidly alternating - depending on the weather - between a fiercely sticky paste that threatens to entrap the soles of your shoes permanently and a rock solid mass that can rival concrete in its durability. I've been slowly, one step at a time as the budget allows, attempting to improve the soil quality in our garden beds, and while we now have happy tomato plants for the first year one particular variety of plants has grown with unbridled enthusiasm from the very, clay-laden beginning: herbs. Our rosemary bush catapulted from 6 inches to 3 feet in height in one season, our chives are threatening to spill over into the rose garden, and the basil is nearly as tall as the tomato plants. As fast as we can dry, store, and give away herb bouquets as presents, our herbs keep multiplying! I love sitting by the herb garden in the evening, drawing inspiration from their ability to thrive - with great joy de vivre, it seems to me - even under less than ideal conditions.

Our latest addition to the herb collection is a jaunty little oregano bush, and since it too has doubled in size since I planted it a month ago, I figured it wouldn't mind if I trimmed a few stalks to enliven our broccoli...

Broccoli with Oregano Infused Olive Oil

1 1/2 lb broccoli florets
1/3 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley (or the same amount dried)
2 rounded T coarsely chopped fresh oregano (or 2 tsp dried)
1 tsp anchovy paste (optional - leave this out for the veg/vegan version)
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

~ Steam the broccoli according to your preferred technique, and transfer to a large serving dish.
~ Take 1 T olive oil from the 1/3 cup, place the 1 T in a small saucepan or skillet, and pour the rest of the olive oil into a food processor.
~ In the 1 T olive oil over medium high heat, saute the garlic until it's nicely golden brown.
~ Pour the browned garlic into the food processor, along with the parsley, oregano, anchovy paste if you like, salt, and pepper. Whir this glorious mixture together until well-blended.
~ Drizzle the herb oil over the steamed broccoli, and serve warm...

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