At this time of year there are always a few small side-shoot heads of broccoli that get by us, even though we try to keep those small heads constantly harvested. (And if you’re a new gardener and are waiting for those small heads to become big like the broccoli crowns in the grocery store, don’t do it. Cut them before they open up and start to flower, even though they are small. If you keep cutting these small crowns and the side shoots that come later, you’ll be able to harvest broccoli into the fall. If you have six or more plants you can get an entire meal of broccoli just from all of those side shoots.) But if you’ve let some of the broccoli go to flower, cut those stems off as you harvest the broccoli shoots and use the flowers in a broccoli salad.
Briefly steam your broccoli shoots until they are tender but not mushy – usually a minute in or over boiling water is plenty of time. After removing them from the heat and draining, run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Clip off the broccoli flowers from their stems, selecting only the tips which are the sweetest and most flavorful. After the broccoli shoots are cooled, toss them with the flowers and your favorite salad dressing. (We like equal parts of olive oil and lemon juice with a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.)