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Yes, it’s broccoli and yes, you will eat it — especially with these 9 recipes

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Talking broccoli at the farmer’s market with Food Editor Russ Parsons.

Of all the perverse twists in our relationship with food, the vilifying of broccoli has to be right up at the top of the heap. How did one of winter’s treats become a symbol for all that is loathsome about healthy food?

Granted, I suppose if the only broccoli you’d ever had was that awful, overcooked, olive-drab stuff, maybe I could understand it. But nobody really cooks like that anymore, do they? Give it 5 to 7 minutes in rapidly boiling, liberally salted water and you’ll have broccoli that’s tender with just a touch of crispness and stays bright green.

Best of all, broccoli can be prepared so many ways. I sometimes think I could fill an entire cookbook only with recipes for broccoli pasta. I sometimes make it just with garlic and oil, sometimes with Italian sausage, sometimes with salted anchovies and pistachios and raisins .... Give me a head of broccoli and a bag of dried pasta and I can eat for a week.

RECIPES: 9 great broccoli dishes

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Broccoli comes in many forms these days. In addition to the familiar tree-shaped standard broccoli, you can find slender broccoli rabe (sometimes called broccoli di rape), its look-alikes Chinese broccoli (gai lan) and broccolini (sometimes called baby broccoli) and the gorgeous, fractal romanesco broccoli.

How to choose: There are two things to look for when shopping for broccoli: The heads should be tight and compact and the flower buds should be closed; also check the stems, the peel can be thick but it shouldn’t be woody (try to pierce it with your fingernail).

How to store: Store broccoli tightly wrapped in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

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