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.
- 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 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!