Before last year’s vegan MOFO I would have said I disliked broccoli. Somehow last year we discovered tender stem broccoli and our world was turned upside down. It was more tender (duh!) and people said more like asparagus. The stems are slender and less woody and the florets not too chokingly flowery. But we discovered that best was to eat it was roasted. I know. Who would have thought you could roast broccoli? But you can and it is glorious--all crispy like smoky broccoli potato crisps. Really. But there are some tips that will make it go from awesome to orgasmically good. I am reliably told this works with regular stuff, but I’ve only tried it with tender stem.
1. Cut your broccoli lengthwise in half or thirds. The thinner each piece is, the crispier it gets. FACT.
2. Don’t over do the oil. It needs a bit of oil. I tried it without and it just didn’t crisp up properly. But if you over oil they just feel oily and soggy after cooking. I have found that a good oil spray mister is a Godsend. It lightly distributes a fine layer of oil and with mine it takes 16 squirts to make a teaspoon of oil so you really get away with a lot less than you think. I would NOT recommend using something like PAM or FRYLIGHT which are non stick one calorie cooking sprays. They are full of chemical stuff to emulsify the oil and water and just succeed in making it all gummy and your pan a bee-otch to clean.
3. There are 2 temperatures you can use to roast your broccoli. For a long time I only did it for 10 minutes at 220C/425F. That is good. It works. But what if you have other things to roast as well? You can also do it at 200C/400F for 20 minutes and it comes out equally good--maybe a tad bit better. Just a shade more all over brown and crispy. If I have other veg to roast I cook them for 10 minutes, give them a stir and add the broccoli and cook for a further 20 minutes. Then all your veg comes out at once.
4. I like to add a few grinds of black pepper. I have been known to also squeeze a bit of lime juice over it before roasting as well if the rest of the food was similarly flavoured. It’s all good. Recipes I found online often say dust liberally with sea salt and a squeeze of lemon before serving, but I’ve never been inclined. It has a wonderful salty, smoky taste on its own and I think lemon after the fact might make it soggy. But I ain’t tried it, so I don’t know really.
Here are the pictures of my broccoli all bright and green--before going in the oven after the mist of oil and pepper:
Here is after 10 minutes of roasting at 220C/425F. Notice how brown bits are. Click on the photo to really see the lovely caramelised bits.
I know I said I thought 200C/400F was better but we were in a rush as Spiderman had to go back for parent’s evening. If I’d done it at 200C it would probably have been browner. But hey ho. It still tasted *amazing* and crispy.
Just so you know, we didn’t just have this. We had the leftover Moroccan bean stew as well.
Now go forth into the world and roast thy broccoli.