Once in a while, every cook stumbles on a technique that transforms a vegetable from a tolerated item into a highly anticipated side dish. This technique which can easily be modified does it for broccoli and me. Admittedly I never hated broccoli, I didn’t love it, except in salads like broccoli almond salad, where the florets are little crispy sponges soaking up the dressing.
Make Perfect Roasted Broccoli
But here, there is the perfect balance of crisp and tender, with a hint of heat and, of course, garlic. Vampires don’t stand a chance if you cook the Home Ec 101 way.
Use your imagination when using this technique. Omit the parmesan cheese and substitute bacon crumbles or toasted sunflower seeds, top with cheese sauce, or go vegan, omit the cheese, and sprinkle with a tangy vinegar or lemon.
- 1 bunch of broccoli cut into bite-sized florets, stems peeled and cut into 1/8" discs
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
- pinch of crushed red pepper *optional*
- 1/8 cup parmesan cheese
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Over medium heat in a small, heavy skillet, heat the smashed garlic close, olive oil, and option crushed red pepper for 5 minutes.
- Smashing the garlic cloves increases the number of broken cells in the garlic clove. This allows more of the oils that carry the garlic flavor to infuse into the olive oil. It is perfectly all right to double or triple the amount of olive oil needed (plus the extra seasoning, of course) and store the extra in the refrigerator. The oil will become solid in the fridge, but it will return to liquid when brought back to room temperature for the next batch.
- Immediately remove from the heat if the garlic begins to brown; it should be golden. Burnt garlic tastes bitter and will do nothing for your impression of broccoli.
- Place the broccoli in a large bowl, pour the hot olive oil over the broccoli, and toss to coat evenly.
- Spread on a baking sheet, lightly sprinkle with salt and bake for 8 - 10 minutes, just until the florets begin to brown.
- Toss with parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper.
Submitted to What I Learned This Week.