Blasted Broccoli

Blasted Broccoli

Baking sheets (a.k.a. cookie sheets) are one of the great work horses in my kitchen. When I got married my husband, then fiance, put baking sheets on our registry. He made me promise I would never be the one to clean them because he knew I would do a subpar job and they would look ugly forever. I agreed – no arm twisting required. (At that point I tried to lock him into dishes for eternity, “Hey, can you actually do all the dishes, foooorrreeevvveeerrr?”) He didn’t bite. Now that I’m thinking of it, his request that I never wash the baking sheets didn’t last. I continue to be the primary cook during the week and also tend to do a subpar job on dishes.

Add this cooking technique to your toolbox then riff on flavor combinations that tailor the mood. Here are a few ideas to get your creativity flowing:

sesame oil + soy sauce + red pepper flakes + granulated garlic

balsamic + olive oil

grated Gouda + Swiss (add before broil in step #4)

Foodie note: All ovens run a little different and the type of oven (electric or gas) may change where the hot spots are or how food is cooked. For example, I used to have a low-quality electric stove that worked great and it was hottest on the very top rack. All my crisping came from that spot. I currently have a gas stove and it is screamin’ hot on the bottom shelf, which means I tend to burn everything that gets too close to the last two lower shelves. In the recipe I advise you use the middle racks of the oven for even heat, then if you like, finish on broil at the hottest spot of the oven for maximum crispiness.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

6 heads of broccoli

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt

Juice of 1 lemon

Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450*F, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Wash broccoli; use a vegetable peeler to shave tough stocks and any rough knobs on the stock. Trim stock but leave a good handle’s worth – they are tasty and cook nicely.
  3. Using a knife, trim florets into 2″ sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil. Use your hand to toss and coat broccoli with oil; spread onto baking sheets and sprinkle with sea salt.
  4. Bake in the center of the oven for 12-15 minutes. The florets should be bright green and slightly blackened, stir. Turn oven to broil, place broccoli near the heat source and crisp for ~2 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven, squeeze a lemon over the broccoli, toss to coat; sprinkle with freshly grated parm and a pinch of salt. Serve immediately with more parm.