Last week I spotted the first crop of broccoli at my local greenmarket in Westport, CT. Finally! Broccoli consumption with principle. To my disappointment, the farmers had lopped off the stems. Trimmed of its fibrous outer layer, the stem is the choicest part of this vegetable–crunchy and sweeter than the far more desirable and prettier florets. Of course I bought it anyway. But I didn’t want to do the same old steam and olive oil drizzle. My kids love Chinese food. We all do. Lurking in my freezer were some trimmings from a beef tenderloin. I took of advantage of its frozen state to cut the meat into thin slices (for quick cooking later on), then marinated it for several hours in Sherry wine, soy, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Towards dinnertime, my broccoli got a short blanch so it was still crisp tender and bright green, then stir fried it together with flash seared beef and the marinade. Broccoli got a whole new appearance at the table, my Finicky One loved “the sauce”, and the one-dish nature of this dinner made it easy for a weeknight meal. Oh, and it was completely delicious.
Beef with Broccoli
Recipe by Melissa Roberts
Because the meat is marinated, pricey tenderloin (or even its trimmings) isn’t at all necessary. Far cheaper boneless top sirloin makes an equally good companion to the broccoli. And remember, if you’ve got ‘em, use those stems!
1 lb boneless top sirloin steak
1 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 fat cloves garlic
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons medium dry Sherry
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar (regular or brown)
1 ½ lbs broccoli
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
Accompaniment: steamed rice
Freeze steak until solid and partially frozen, 3 to 4 hours.
Combine ginger, garlic, soy sauce, Sherry, sesame oil, and sugar in a bowl until sugar dissolves.
Cut steak into thin (about 1/16” thick) slices. Transfer to bowl with marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 and up to 8 hours.
Cut broccoli into (2” long, about 1” wide) spears. If you have stems, trim off outer fibrous layer. Halve lengthwise and cut into 1” pieces. Cook broccoli in a 4 to 5 quart of boiling water seasoned with 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Cook broccoli until crisp tender, 2 minutes, then drain well.
Heat oil in a wok or large heavy skillet over medium high heat until it shimmers. Stir fry beef (scraped of excess marinade; in 2 batches if using a skillet) until it’s just no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add broccoli and stir fry until just heated through, 2 minutes more. Whisk cornstarch into marinade, add to wok along with beef and continue to stir fry until liquid boils and just thickens, about 1 minute more.