Immediate Inspiration: Broccoli
I always check the mailbox when I get home from work. It's not that I'm ever expecting anything really exciting. To be honest, I usually get bills. But then there are those wonderful evenings when I open my mailbox to find a new issue of Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, or Everyday Food. Somehow seeing one of those brightly colored, food-porn-laden issues makes my whole night.
On this particular day, it was Food & Wine. I won't say the lavender-colored cover, which seems better suited for Easter, really caught my eye, but the little chicken brioche sandwiches with bacon did. I got inside my apartment, dropped my bag, flopped down in an armchair, and opened the magazine. I got as far as the table of contents before I brought the magazine over to the kitchen counter and began grabbing ingredients for the caramelized broccoli with garlic recipe. As luck would have it, my roommate and I had gone to Costco earlier that week, and we had a huge bag of broccoli in the fridge. I felt destined to make this recipe.
Along with the broccoli, the recipe calls for just a few simple ingredients that one is likely to have on hand: olive oil, lemon, and garlic (and red pepper flakes, but I left those out).
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads of broccoli (1 1/4 pounds total), stems peeled and heads halved lengthwise
1/2 cup water
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
In a large, deep skillet,heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the broccoli, cut side down, cover and cook over moderate heat until richly browned on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Add the water, cover and cook until the broccoli is just tender and the water has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with the garlic and the crushed red pepper and cook uncovered until the garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Season the broccoli with salt and black pepper, drizzle with the lemon juice and serve.
Then, to make a whole meal out of it, I boiled some pasta on the side and then added the cooked pasta to the pan to saute it up a little with the broccoli.
And to the leftovers the next day, I added tomatoes and sauteed those up as well when the broccoli and pasta was just about heated through.
This is a great recipe. It turns plain old broccoli into a tasty, flavorful dish. Don't forget the lemon juice! And I wouldn't hesitate to throw extra garlic in.