Believe it or not, broccoli is part of the cabbage family. And although its origins are said to be from the Mediterranean, it was not a popular vegetable in Spain until recent years. Cabbage, on the other hand, is a well-known Spanish ingredient-- making an important appearance in the country's cocidos, or stews, such as the cocido madrileño or caldo gallego.
But despite the short history of broccoli in Spain, many Spaniards have taken to broccoli in the past years, especially as diet and health has become a focus of many people. A few years ago, we tasted a delicious Spanish broccoli dish that featured typically Spanish ingredients. We loved it, so decided to modify this easy broccoli recipe slightly to our taste, and began to prepare our own version of Spanish style broccoli. Since then, it has become a staple at our table during the cooler months, and we’d like to share it with you.
This easy and healthy broccoli recipe first sautés onions and broccoli in olive oil, then adds a splash of white wine, paprika and some chopped olives and ham, giving this dish a truly Spanish flavor. For an even deeper flavor, add a mashed anchovy or two (make them good quality salt-cured anchovies).
Substitution Notes: If you cannot purchase Spanish black olives, substitute Kalamata olives. Broccoli crowns may be substituted for the bunches. The anchovies are optional (but recommended-- you'll never know they're there and they add a depth of flavor!).
- 1 lb fresh broccoli
- 1 Medium yellow or white onion
- 3-4 Tbsp virgin Spanish olive oil
- 8 oz dry white wine
- 1 tsp Spanish paprika
- 1 dozen Spanish black olives, with pits
- 1/4 cup of cured Serrano ham ( chopped, substitute prosciutto if necessary)
- Optional: 2 Salt cured anchovies
- Salt to taste
- Trim the broccoli stalks to about three inches. Cut the florets with the stalks attached lengthwise. Rinse under cold water, and drain well.
- Next, peel and coarsely chop the onion. Chop the Serrano ham.
- Carefully chop each black olive in half, making sure to remove each pit. Why not just buy the olives without the pits? They really aren't the same! The olives are a natural preservative and make these olives extra delicious.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan, pour in the olive oil and heat over medium. When hot, add the onion and sauté until the onion is just starting to brown, stirring often.
- Add the ham and sauté 30 seconds.
- Add the broccoli and stir to coat in oil. Sauté for about two minutes, and then add the wine, paprika, and olives.
- Cover and cook about five minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.