Sunday, August 28, 2016

Roasted Broccoli

I signed up recently for a CSA box, mostly because I'm too lazy to get up and to to the farmers' market on weekend mornings! I got one that I can customize from, but this week I forgot to click "save" after I made my changes. Oops! That meant a third box in a row with a giant head of broccoli. I promised a coworker that I'd give it to her if I didn't get it cooked this weekend--sorry, Alicia, but I found the time!

Now, I do love broccoli. It's just that it's hard to feel inspired by it, and it really needs to be prepared correctly, which means some careful peeling I don't always want to do at the beginning of the semester. With the first bunch, I tried making a chicken and broccoli casserole, which felt like cooking a foreign dish since I'm not from a family that makes a lot of casseroles. It was OK, but not terribly exciting. Roasting it seemed like a much more modern take on the classic veggie.
Preheat the oven to 450. All you need is the following for four to six servings:

  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/4 tsp salt and add more after roasting if you're afraid of over salting)
  • a pinch of chili flakes if you roll that way

You can use florets, but if you get whole broccoli, be sure to use the stem as well as the top. Slice the florets of 1 1/2 lbs broccoli into even sized pieces, 1/3 to 1/2 inch wide. They won't all be even, but get them as close as you can. Remove the tough peel from the outside of the stem AND from the sliced florets. You'll need a paring knife or a good sharp peeler to peel the stem. You can peel with your fingers from the bottom of the floret slices or use a paring knife again.
Slice the stem into sizes about the same thickness as the others, or a smidge thinner. Cover a baking sheet (or two) with parchment or aluminum foil and pile the broccoli in the center. Drizzle the olive oil and seasonings over the broccoli and toss them for a minute with your (clean) hands.
Spread them out evenly on the pan. Pop them in the 450 oven and set a timer for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, pull them out and flip the pieces over. A pair of tongs will work better than a spatula, but the spatula will work if that's all you've got. 
At halfway, some pieces will be browning and others will be blackening. You can taste a piece to see if it needs salt. Pop them back into the oven for another 7 or 8 minutes. Take them out and serve with Green Tahini Sauce or just lemon and butter. I made some hummus with Kalamatas today, so that's how I served them this time. 

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