Fresh Broccoli Florets requires insect infestation inspection. Please see “Special Instructions below:
1 pound frozen cheese tortellini or vegetable-filled tortellini
1 cup frozen green peas
2 cups finely chopped fresh broccoli florets
10- or 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained but save the liquid
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup chopped black olives
Liquid from the roasted peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Begin cooking the tortellini according to package directions. Layer the frozen peas and the broccoli florets in a large saucepan with l/2 inch of water. Bring them to a simmer and steam over moderate heat, covered, until the peas are thawed and the broccoli is bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the peas and broccoli and rinse them under cool water until they are at room temperature.
In the meantime, drain the roasted peppers, reserving the juices in a small mixing bowl. Cut the peppers into strips. Combine the liquid from the red peppers with the olive oil, vinegar, mustard and Parmesan cheese. Whisk to combine.
When the tortellini are done, drain them and rinse under cool water until they are at room temperature. Combine them in a mixing bowl with the peas, broccoli, red pepper strips, black olives and dressing. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to coat.Checking Fresh Broccoli and Cauliflower for Insect Infestation: Broccoli may be infested with a variety of insects most prominently aphids and thrips. The aphids are green or white, but will often turn brown during the parboiling (partial cooking) that is done to prepare the vegetable for inspection (see Inspection, below). The thrips are usually black or gray. Also present at times is the broccoli worm, a thin white or light greenish worm of about a half inch’s length. This worm, when present, is difficult to discern because it looks like one of the thin stems. Broccoli Stems may be used after a thorough washing. No further checking is necessary. Our research has indicated that infestation levels of broccoli grown domestically (USA, Canada, but not Mexico) vary by season. During the winter months, (approximately November through March), infestation level is around 10%. Broccoli grown during this season should be inspected. During the summer months (the remaining seven months of the year), broccoli can be heavily infested, and inspection is often impractical. Broccoli from Mexico is infested throughout the year. It is primarily used for frozen broccoli products. Broccoli Inspection: When checking broccoli, a well-lit area should be chosen. This aids in discerning an insect from the floret pieces. It should be noted that cleaning infested broccoli is not feasible. The purpose of inspection is to determine if the broccoli is infested. Once infestation is detected, the floret portion of the head must be discarded. One cannot be certain that all insects will be discovered and removed. However, the stem portion may be separated, washed and consumed 1. It is virtually impossible to perform a comprehensive inspection on raw broccoli. Parboil the broccoli for ten seconds to soften the florets and stems. An additional benefit of parboiling is that aphids often turn from green to brown and the florets from light to dark lush green. The contrast of colors makes the insects more easily detectable after this process. Submerge in cold water immediately after parboiling to preserve the flavor and firmness of the vegetable. 2. It is important to segregate each head individually when processing more than one head of broccoli. If a section of a broccoli head shows infestation, the entire head must be discarded. 3. Inspect each floret section: a) Look carefully at the under part (i.e., the branched area) of each floret. It is important to check the Y-shaped crevice between the branches. b) Spread each floret head apart and look inside the floret from the top down (i.e., through the green flower buds, into the branch area). 4. If one or two insects is found, special care should be taken in examining the remaining sections of that broccoli head. Should a total of three insects be found, either in a particular section or spread among different sections of the same broccoli head, the entire head should be discarded. Alternative method: 1. While parboiling the broccoli as described above, agitate the vegetable in the boiling water and bang it against the side of the pot several times. 2. After removing the broccoli and submerging it in cold water, check a sampling of the parboiled water in a glass bowl over a light box. 3. If insects appear in the water, each floret must be checked meticulously. 4. If no insects appear in the water, the broccoli may be used after running a strong stream of water through the head from top to bottom and from bottom to top. Beware: Insects like company. If even one insect is found, the entire head must be checked most scrupulously Please note that crudite´ displays should not include raw broccoli due to the impossibility of properly checking raw broccoli.