Broccoli. Such a fantastic time of year to be be eating this cruciferous vegetable. Hit any farmer’s market in the district and you are bound to see walls of florets stacked on tables. I’ve often struggled with finding different ways of preparing broccoli.

We’ve all had it with a cheese-y sauce at some point in our lives. In a soup. Or just steamed.

I will some times do a little saute with ginger, garlic, some soy sauce and chili and serve with steamed brown rice when I want something Asian or take this recipe and omit the ginger, soy and brown rice and have a nice contorni with a simple piece of grilled fish.

Nearly three years ago to the date, I was in Paris cooking with the lovely and gracious Patrica Wells for a week. We made the following salad on our first day. Everyone raved. We all loved the variance of green in this dish, from the emerald-looking broccoli, to the yellow-green of the avocado and the verdant-looking pistachios. It was one of the recipes that our class cited as their favorite. And it was easy to make.

I often serve this salad on individual large plates for guests, giving it a very grand-looking and artistic platform. Last night, I served this as a quick side with a grilled, grass-fed ribeye and a homemade Chimichurri sauce. Another green contrast. Hoot!

I’ll post the Chimichurri sauce, soon, if you all are interested.

Photo is courtesy of John Phelan when we were in Paris three years ago.

Broccoli, Avocado, and Pistachios with Pistachio Oil

Brocoli, Avocat, Pistaches, et Huile de Pistache

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

1/4 cup pistachio oil, pine nut oil, almond oil or extra-virgin olive oil.

3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

8 ounces broccoli florets (about two cups)

1 ripe avocado

1/4 cup salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Fleur de sel to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. In a small jar, combine the lemon juice and fine sea salt, and stir to blend. Add the oil, cover the jar, and shake to blend.

2. Prepare a large bowl of ice water

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the course sea salt and the broccoli. Boil, uncovered, until the broccoli is crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately drain the broccoli and plunge the florets into the ice water so they cool down as quickly as possible and retain their crispness and bright green color. (The vegetable will cool in 1 to 2 minutes.) After that, it will soften and begin to lose crispness and flavor.) Transfer the broccoli to a colander and drain.

4. Halve, peel and very thinly slice the avocado. Arrange a mound of broccoli in the center of a serving plate. Arrange the avocado slices in a circle around the broccoli. Sprinkle with pistachios. Drizzle with the lemon and oil mixture, then season with salt and pepper. Let infuse 3 to 4 minutes before serving as a first course or a vegetable course.