Saturday, February 28, 2009

Re-Discovering Broccoli

I have always liked broccoli. Even when I was a kid, I never complained if there was broccoli on the dinner table like I would if I discovered squash or cabbage was on the menu. In college, I bought broccoli nearly every week and threw stray florets into serviceable stir fries or omelets. However, broccoli was never something I put in my shopping cart because I was excited about it. It was never the star of any dish I made. All of that changed when I saw this post on the Amateur Gourmet site. The Barefoot Contessa recipe highlighted seemed simple enough -- season broccoli with some salt, pepper, and garlic; roast until crispy and brown; toss with lemon zest and lemon juice; sprinkle with pine nuts and grated parmesan. Somehow, the sum of this dish is much, much greater than its parts. I have made broccoli this way countless times and it never fails to please. Roasting carmelizes the broccoli and results in delightfully crispy, browned spots on the florets. I can't imagine making broccoli any other way. This recipe allows broccoli to be the star for once.

Roasted Broccoli


2 bunches broccoli
4 garlic cloves, sliced
salt & pepper
zest of one lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
parmesan, grated
pine nuts, toasted
olive oil


1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Wash and pat the broccoli very dry. Cut into large florets. Toss with a glug of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Remove from oven and toss with lemon zest and lemon juice. Top with pine nuts and parmesan.

Note: The original recipe also calls for julienned basil but I have always omitted it.

Makes 4 servings.

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