I’ve been making very simple foods for the past week, mostly
because my days of recipe testing and writing have been very full, often
extending till 11 p.m. when I collapse into bed. That kind of work schedule
doesn’t permit elaborate cooking.
By late afternoon, the kitchen can look like
something exploded. After tidying up, my husband and I usually take a daily
walk to buy groceries for dinner. Some days, that’s the only time I leave my
house so I relish the chance to stretch my legs and breathe extra fresh air. It’s
also an opportunity to ponder dinner.
Local farmers grow some spectacularly tasty broccoli and
broccolini, which are sold at weekly farmer’s markets as well as independent
grocery stores. My default preparations are to briefly boil broccoli in lots of
salted water (steaming tends to unevenly cook the vegetable), stir-fry broccoli
with a little meat, or employ it in Chinese-style noodle soups. Here are a couple of past recipes on VWK that involve broccoli:
weekend, I roasted it, inspired by a broccoli recipe in my friend Molly Steven’s
About Roasting cookbook. Molly is a fabulous writer and teacher who
communicates just the right amount of information to help you master cooking
Her broccoli is “blasted” at high heat so it cooks to a wonderful
toastiness. She seasons hers with kosher salt and pepper. I opted for fish
sauce and pepper.
There were a couple of surprises: (1) the fish sauce lent
the broccoli a certain briny toastiness that reminded me of toasted dried squid
– a common Southeast Asian noshing snack; and (2) the broccoli’s bite became
incredibly sweet and concentrated. That’s the beauty of high heat cooking. This
technique would be uncommon in Asia where most people don’t have home ovens
like we do in the States. But it’s a brilliant way to treat broccoli. Try it
Blasted Broccoli with
Yields: 3 to 4
- 1 1/2 pounds (675 g) broccoli crowns
- 2 to 3 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- Black pepper
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and
preheat to 450°F (230°C / gas mark 8).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Trim the ends of the broccoli crowns and then
cut them into individual florets, like tiny trees. Put on the prepared baking
sheet. Drizzle on the oil, then season with fish sauce and pepper. Use your
hands to coat the florets with seasonings to ensure full coverage.
- Slide the baking sheet into the oven and roast
for 15 to 20 minutes, turning midway when the underside has browned a bit. When
done, the stems should be just tender and tops have a little browning. Cool a
few minutes before serving.
Sprouts with Cracklings and Fish Sauce
Roast Pork and Broccoli Stir-Fry
Spicy Beef Noodle Soup
Got a tip on roasting vegetables or using fish sauce? Share here!