1 medium bunch broccoli - about 9 ounces
2 - 4 tablespoons fresh herbs (optional), minced (suggestions: tarragon, thyme, dill, basil, oregano)
2 green onions (optional), chopped
2 or3 cloves garlic, (optional), minced
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
Balsamic vinegar to taste (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Trim broccoli: cut the last 1/4" from the end of the stalks and use a paring knife to trim any gnarly stumps or little branches from the stalks.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough outer skin from the stalks, starting at the base of the flower and going to the end of the stalks. Some larger stalks have a fairly thick skin and may need two passes of the peeler. (You can tell when you got it all when the inner flesh of the stalk is exposed -- it has a softer wet-green look, with no fibers visible and a texture like a cut radish or potato.)
3. Cut the broccoli pieces crosswise into three pieces: the flower and two pieces of stalk about 2 1/2 - 3" long. Divide the flowers from each other as necessary and halve or quarter the stalk pieces lengthwise so that the pieces are all about the same size (for uniform cooking).
4. Place the broccoli in a steamer basket in a pan with about 3/4" of rapidly boiling water. Cover tightly and steam for 5 min.
5. Remove broccoli to a bowl. Add any of the optional ingredients you are using and toss with tongs briefly to mix.
6. Season to taste and allow to rest, partially covered, for a few minutes.