Scene: Ukrops, Monday night, weekly grocery shopping
Me: We need about 2 pounds of broccoli.
Dan: What, why?! That's way too much. What are we going to do, just eat a ton of broccoli and nothing else?????
Me: Don't get hysterical. I'm going by what the recipe says and it says 2 pounds makes 3 servings.
Dan: *Picks up 1 small head of broccoli (weighing less than a pound) and puts in cart*
Boy did he regret that decision later...
I know I tend to go on and on about all the things I don't like or refuse to eat, but broccoli is one of the few veggies I really like. I will say though that I am partial to the tops. I was a little skeptical about roasting it in the oven for this recipe since one of my roommates used to cook it this way, but it always resulted in a sort of funny smell and brown-tipped broccoli which wasn't too appetizing. Nevertheless, once we got home from the store, I preheated the oven and got all my ingredients together:
broccoli, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, basil
I cut the florets away from the big stalk, but tried to leave about an inch of the thinner stalk attached. Since this head of broccoli was small (ahem), this was a little challenging, but I did my best and put the broccoli florets on a baking sheet:
I sliced the garlic cloves thinly and added them to the sheet pan. I drizzled the broccoli and garlic with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and tossed everything to combine. I tried to strategically place the garlic slices on top of the broccoli pieces to impart as much garlic flavor into the vegetables as possible:
I put the pan in the oven and set the timer for about 20 minutes. While they roasted, I toasted the pine nuts in a dry pan, zested and juiced the lemon, julienned the basil, and grated the Parmesan. Once the broccoli was crisp and tender and the florets were browned, I removed the pan from the oven:
Just a tad too brown
As soon as the broccoli was out of the oven, I put it in a bowl and tossed it with more olive oil, the lemon zest and juice, pine nuts, Parmesan and basil. I also added a little more cheese to the top once it was plated:
Ready for my close up, Mr. Demille
Despite the fact that the broccoli was just slightly crispier than it should have been, this was really delicious. Dan even went so far as to say it was the best thing I had cooked yet. Then I reminded him about the Indonesian Grilled Swordfish and he reconsidered. But this was a close second and was probably the best veggie dish I've made so far.
The lemon, basil, and Parmesan really escalated the flavor of the broccoli and turned something ordinary into something really special. I mean, this was the best broccoli I have ever had. Really. It was complex, balanced, and flavorful, and you could still enjoy the broccoli's flavor without it being smothered in thick hollandaise or cheese sauce.
Me: So Dan, enjoying your broccoli over there?
Dan: *Mouth too full to talk*
Me: Bet you're wishing you had listened to me back there in Ukrops, huh?
Dan: *Pauses, with mouth still full* Yeffshh...
Me: *Defends own plate of broccoli with fork*
Make this when: you've put on about 5 pounds of Christmas cookie weight and need to add more veggies to your diet so other people's kids will stop calling you Santa/Mrs. Clause. The broccoli cancels out the cheese...and nuts...right?
Next Course: Date Nut Spice Bread