Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Roasted Broccoli with Chile, Parmesan and Lemon


As a child I was quite a picky eater. Although I was required to eat certain vegetables which sometimes meant long stretches of sitting at the dining room table by myself, my mother knew that there were some things that were just outside the pale for me. Broccoli was one of them. Actually I found out years later that my father didn't like broccoli so I could probably have thanked him that I escaped childhood relatively broccoli-free.

As you can imagine, I was not the most adventuresome eater or cook when I went off on my own. Left to my own devices, I usually whipped up grilled cheese, ham and cheese sandwich, tomato soup with cheese, or a cheeseburger. See the common thread here?

My last year in college I lived with 7 other people in a rambling old house with a spacious sunny kitchen. One weekend my friend C and I decided to cook dinner together. I don't remember what we cooked for a main course. Chicken? Fish? I've no idea. But I do remember two things about that dinner. We had Lover's Salad ("lettuce alone" - get it?) and broccoli. C promised me that I'd like broccoli if I had it with cheddar cheese sauce. I was pretty impressed until he let me in on his cooking secret - the cheese sauce came in a can. OK, this was not gourmet eating. But that day I realized that I could accept, if not like, broccoli if it were smothered in cheese. I will always be grateful to C for introducing me to what is now one of my favorite vegetables - and I haven't had it with cheese sauce in at least 25 years!

These days I usually steam broccoli and eat it with salt and pepper. Last week I served a lot of leftovers, and decided to spice things up with a Real Recipe (albeit a very simple one!) for our veggie. I turned to Tyler Florence, and found a recipe for Broccoli with Parmesan and Lemon. The broccoli is roasted in the oven, which sounded like an interesting preparation method.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- My broccoli spears were fairly slender

- I decided to add some heat and used a hot chile-flavored olive oil

- After 10 minutes, the broccoli was bright green but still pretty hard, so I roasted it for 4 minutes more, then just 8 minutes with the cheese (= total of 2 extra minutes)

the verdict:

The broccoli was perfectly tender - it could be cut with a knife and fork but wasn't soft or mushy. The flavors were great. I added minimal lemon juice, and liked it that way. The chilis in the olive oil sort of snuck up and I felt the heat in the back of my throat after finishing a bite.

This was a great way to prepare broccoli. If you have any reluctance to eat the veggie, this preparation, with lots of great flavor, might make a broccoli lover out of you. If not, try the canned cheese sauce!

I'm sending this off to Tyler Florence Fridays, a weekly roundup of bloggers cooking Tyler's recipes. Stop by and see what everyone has been cooking up!

18 comments:

Tracey said...

Yum, looks great! I love broccoli! My husband won't eat any fruits or veggies so sadly I don't think smothering the broccoli with cheese would win him over. Making our kids eat veggies someday (we don't have any yet) is going to be impossible!

Megan said...

My kids love roasted broccoli - and while I love it covered in cheese, they prefer a squeeze of lemon and fresh pepper.

I really like the idea of the chile oil - I'll bet it adds nice flavor.

margot said...

I've been making a somewhat similar Barefoot Contessa broccoli recipe recently and have decided that roasted broccoli is completely delicious (I'm even thinking of skipping the cheese next time). I like the idea of adding a little spice to it.

Mermaid Sweets said...

Yum, broccoli and cheese, can never go wrong, broccoli and soy cheese, not so sure.

natalia said...

Thank you for the nice idea ! I love broccoli too !

Natashya said...

Sounds great! I haven't tried roasting broccoli before, but AB swears by it.
Chili oil sounds like the perfect way to amp up the flavour.

Jill said...

I LOVE broccoli. Love it! I usually steam it and eat it with salt & pepper too, but wow, I really need to try roasting it.

Eliana said...

As a child I never ate veggies and now it's hard for me to have them because although I love to eat I can't stomach the things I just don't like. this however seems like a great way to try to introduce broccoli into my diet. I will definitely try it soon.

Mary Ann said...

This looks so good! Broccoli is a great side and I am always looking for ways to spice it up a little bit.

Cathy said...

I love broccoli when it is prepared well, and this looks like a fabulous preparation! My parents tell a story about vacationing in Lake George when my sister and I were little, and driving around like crazy looking for a restaurant that had broccoli because that's what my sister wanted to eat. She always was the "weird sister" :-) I will have to send her the link to this recipe - she still likes her broccoli 30+ years later!

pinkstripes said...

Lovers' Salad--ha ha. I've never heard that one.
I love love broccoli. What a great and tasty way to prepare it. I usually don't roast it. I steam it like you, but I'm going to try it this way.

Madam Chow said...

Good ol' Tyler - looks like he came through again!

dharmagirl said...

i absolutely love roasted broccoli! i eat it all winter long, sometimes paired with cauliflower and various root vegetables in the roasting pan...

i'll have to try the chile oil and lemon next time!

Debinhawaii said...

OK, next time broccoli appears in my CSA box I am trying this. Based on this, I may learn to love it yet! ;-)

Joanne said...

I used to only eat broccoli with cheese also! (And in Chinese food of course). Now I don't think I would touch it.

Roasted broccoli is my favorite way to go, I could eat it like candy.

Jenny said...

Oh yes, roasted broccoli is good. Add in some garlic and it is divine. Like the chili oil addition.

cantbelieveweate said...

Broccoli is an easy veg here, so thanks for adding a new idea and twist! Sounds wonderful!

Di said...

Ooh, another yummy broccoli recipe to try! That sounds really tasty.