Brocolli seeds are small, dried white kernels of what is called "lettuce grass." This legume has for centuries been a popular source of Italian salsas, pimento cheese, salami, and other Italian dry bread products. It's probably not too surprising that the seeds are also used as an ingredient in a very tasty and easy to make salsas, such as Brocolli Salsiccese. I've also heard it referred to as Brocolli Masti, which is the generic term for the Salsa that is made with Brocolli seeds. The term Masti means "in the mold."
Brocolli seeds are a relatively new entrant in the salsicing world. In fact, they came from France only in the early 1990s. They were created by accident. A scientist working at the University of Rome happened to notice that drying the seeds without heating them caused the outer skin of the seeds to peel off. He thought this was a new way to make a dry sesame seed brittle and delicious.
When we get sick or injured, we usually reach for the ibuprofen or aspirin to alleviate our pain. If we have some fresh Brocolli Salsicce to steep in a glass of water to bring down our pain, why wouldn't we want to make a Salsa? We could brew ourselves a delicious Salsa soup using the seeds and dry ingredients. We could even make a delicious hot beverage out of Salsicce in a teapot.
In my Italian cooking classes, I encourage students to use the Brocolli seeds in their recipes to add flavor and texture. But there are several ways in which you can prepare these little salsas. You can use them sliced with tortilla chips to create a tasty crunchy snack, or you can crush them into a fine dust for sprinkling on top of baked potatoes or rice. You can even shake the salsas and sprinkle them over baked beans or rice. The possibilities are endless!
My favorite way to prepare Brocolli Salsas is to add them to warm balsamic sauce, then drizzle them over as it simmers. I serve them with grilled fish or serve the seeds with grated cheese on top of baked potatoes and broccoli. Another great preparation is to serve the dry salsas along with garlic bread slices cut into slices. You can make a delicious herb salad by grating the seeds and placing it onto a piece of crackers with olive oil, lemon juice and lime juice.
One of my favorite things about Brocolli seeds is that they retain a bit of a spicy flavor. This is a great thing, because it makes them great for making breadcrumbs, garlic breads and pesto. For fish, you can soak the dry seeds in water and cook them until they are very tender. Then you can fry them in butter or oil to bring out the flavor.
If you are making a roasted chicken salad, simply cook the salsas and garlic along with the chicken and seasonings. You can also use Brocolli seeds to roast red or green peppers. Add them to the salad or make a delicious paste with them. Try roasting hot peppers on end, and then adding the dry salsas and garlic to the mix. You will have a spicy yet sweet treat.
In summary, Brocolli is versatile seeds that will go well with almost any kind of meat or seafood preparation. I really like to use them in soups, stews and other hearty dishes. They are best eaten fresh, but you can freeze prepared mixes and store them for up to a year. Enjoy!
There are many different ways to prepare the seeds, but my favorite is by dehydrating them. Simply take the dry salsas and garlic from your refrigerator and put them in a plastic bag. Leave them in the freezer for about an hour to firm them up. Now you can take them out of the bag and put them into your food processor. This will make a fine ground for grinding. You can also buy a mortar and pestle to do this preparation, but it makes the seeds much more brittle, so maybe I will try that next time...If you do not have a food processor, you can also crush them with your hands.
As with all seeds, make sure that you rinse off any seeds or other parts of the herb that could cause an allergy reaction. If you have any questions about how to cook with Brocolli, send an email to the author. I will answer any questions you may have! The great thing about this herb is that it grows easily, so you may want to plant it in different spots around your garden. In time, you will see that it is an asset to your garden.
The great thing about Brocolli seeds, is that you can grow them year round. Keep an eye on the soil around your garden as the plants start to mature. When they are ready, just pluck them, cut off the tips, and save the seeds for salsas or coffee. All you need to do now is start preparing meals! Happy planting!