You've Been Chopping Broccoli Wrong All This Time

You're going to flip (literally) for this veggie-prep hack from Food Network Kitchen.

February 03, 2020

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Umami-Roasted Vegetables, as seen on Food Network Kitchen.

Photo by: Lauren Volo

Lauren Volo

Chopping vegetables had always been the tedious necessary middle step between buying vegetables and eating them.

But while watching Raquel Pelzel’s on-demand class for Umami-Roasted Vegetables on the Food Network Kitchen app, I realized I’ve been hacking at my broccoli like I wield a hatchet, and missing the fun of "flipping" the process to make my vegetables work for me.

Raquel, a cookbook author and editor, makes a ton of vegetables and creates little magic moments out of them as she cooks, including a method of cutting carrots that makes them into a shape she sees as owl faces, and roasting radishes until they look like rose petals — watch her class to see what I mean. But it’s not until she gets to the broccoli and cauliflower that the real magic happens. After offering a bit of advice on how the crown of your broccoli should look — tight and firm, without any yellow — she gets right to her broccoli hack: Raquel flips them on their heads — literally.

"I like to trim it upside-down into florets," she explains. For broccoli, she whittles down, rotating the head as she goes, like a topiary artist working with a box hedge. The upside-down spinning motion means there’s always something new to chop, so she sets the florets free in one fluid motion, cutting, until she’s left with just a center bit of roastable stalk, which she likens to a disco ball. From there, she chips down the florets until they’re all similarly sized and transfers them to her bowl. When it comes to cauliflower, she first cuts away the leaves, then cuts around the core, pulling the florets off to break up with her knife or by hand. "It kind of depends on how your cauliflower is speaking to you," she explains. The method keeps gravity on your side and makes the otherwise-unwieldy process feel easy. It’s a crowning achievement.

Raquel pragmatically offers tips for nights when you don’t have time — including buying bins of chopped vegetables, before glazing them in her glossy umami glaze. But with this speedy hack, chopping veg is all upside.

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