Pan-Steamed Broccolini with Lemon and Capers

Published March 2018

Why This Recipe Works

Broccolini can be tricky to cook because its tender florets are quicker to cook than its stems, resulting in the florets overcooking by the time the stalks become crisp-tender. This recipe works by splitting thicker stems so that they are the same size as the thinner ones in the bunch, allowing for even cooking along the whole length of the stem. Pan steaming is a one-pan method that eliminates the need for the blanching pot and ice bath required of the classic blanch-shock-sauté technique. Butter, capers, lemon zest, and pepper round out the flavors.


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1 pound broccolini, trimmed and rinsed
cup water
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon pepper

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Serves 4 to 6

Shake the rinsed broccolini over the sink to rid it of excess water before slicing the stems. If your skillet lid does not fit securely and allows too much steam to escape, add a bit more water in step 2 to keep the skillet from drying out.

1. Cut broccolini stalks measuring more than ½ inch in diameter at base in half lengthwise. Cut stalks measuring ¼ to ½ inch in diameter at base in half lengthwise, starting below where florets begin and keeping florets intact. Leave stalks measuring less than ¼ inch in diameter at base whole.

2. Bring water to boil in 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add broccolini and sprinkle with salt. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover and gently toss broccolini with tongs; cover and continue to cook until broccolini is bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Uncover and cook until any remaining liquid evaporates, about 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat.

3. Push broccolini to 1 side of skillet. Add butter, capers, lemon zest, and pepper to cleared side of skillet and stir to combine. Using tongs, toss broccolini with butter mixture until evenly coated, transfer to platter, and serve.