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It’s essential to peel broccoli stems.

I learned that a long time ago when I took Chinese cooking courses at the China Institute in New York (with the great teacher, Florence Lin).

I’d eaten broccoli before that of course, but never peeled. My mother never peeled the stalks. The stuff in the frozen packages wasn’t peeled.

But Ms. Lin showed the class how to do it and it was a revelation. Because broccoli can be as tough as a rubber tire.

But not if you peel it!

Ms. Lin’s broccoli was crispy and tender. And so was mine forever after.

Here’s how to do it. Look at the photos. The first one shows a stalk of broccoli with the florets attached.

Take a small sharp knife and remove the florets. Then cut about an inch off the bottom of the stalk and with that cut begin to peel back the thick outer skin (2nd photo). You will see that it peels back almost all by itself. Then, using the knife, peel back the skin on the other parts of the stem, beginning at the cut end at the bottom (photo 3). Cut the stems into bite size pieces and add them to the cut up florets. You’re now ready to cook. Try the recipe I posted yesterday.

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