Broccoli is probably one of my most favorite vegetables to eat on an everyday basis. Always was, even when I was but a wee little one and mom used to microwave the frozen broccoli florets covered in Velveeta until they were unequivocally dead, I still loved it – although looking back that may have had more to do with the covered in “cheese” part…what? I was, like, 8! I now know that Velveeta is not really food and have acquired an aversion to frozen vegetables and using microwaves for more than heating things up. Yay for growing up!
I vividly remember the day I found out that cooked vegetables were supposed to have texture. It was in my second week of culinary school, we had just finished up learning how to use our knives and moved on to vegetable cookery, our first project was learning how to blanch and the victims were broccoli & cauliflower. You can imagine my surprise when we were finished practicing for the day and I ate the very first pieces of broccoli & cauliflower I can remember that weren’t a mushy mess. It was an epiphany, as lame as that may sound. I liked vegetables – I loved fresh vegetables that were cooked properly and seasoned well. And so began my broccoli problem.
Seems odd to have a broccoli problem, I know. But I do. Broccoli is reasonably priced, has a long shelf life when stored right, is wicked flexible to use, and is on sale every week somewhere. So I buy it. Often. It is one of my “always in the fridge so I don’t have to run to the grocery store to make an impromptu dinner worth eating” vegetables. But that can get boring. Granted I don’t just make steamed broccoli, I add it to other stuff, douse it in brown butter, blanch it off to throw in salads…whatever sounds good, but I still like to play around and try to find tastier & more creative ways to make it less broccoli :( and more BROCCOLI :)
Heaven knows I am not the first person to roast broccoli ~ like all things culinary my philosophy is less “let’s reinvent the wheel” and more “whatever you do, do it better” ~ but the first time I tried it was simply because I did not feel like boiling water to blanch. Lazy, right? Sorta…ok mostly. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to boil water as much as I didn’t want to have to wash the pot from it and the oven was already on so I cranked it up and roasted the broccoli instead.
I loved it. You roast at a high temperature so the very edges get crispy sweet & caramelized and since it is dry heat the flavor seemed a little richer. This version is ridiculously simple, but it can be amped up with anything – sesame seeds, sliced garlic, pine nuts, crushed red pepper flakes, mushrooms or finish the roasted broccoli with lemon zest, grated cheese or compound butter – whatever you dig or have in your pantry/fridge. This one is kind of like a refined, grown up version of that hot cheesy mess my mom used to make.
Oven Roasted Broccoli
- Broccoli – cut into large florets
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Parmesan Cheese
Preheat the oven to 400.
Cut up the broccoli and put into a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper. When the oven is heated bake for 15 minutes. Broccoli is done when it is tender and the edges start to crisp.
Remove from oven and top with fresh grated parmesan or aged sharp cheddar then shove in your face.
Easy, healthy & best of all yummy!