I have a new favorite way to cook broccoli and I can’t take credit for it. First, let me say that Broccoli is probably my favorite vegetable side. I like the taste, and the nutrient profile makes it an excellent choice for adding some green to a plate. It is easy to cook and lends itself to many styles and flavors. It is available year round without too much of an out of season mediocrity factor. It is also usually a good value. What’s not to love?
All of these factors result in Broccoli gracing our plates several times a week. That means I am always thinking about different ways to prepare it. I admit that I search Google, Pinterest, etc. quite often for ideas and I am sure that I am not alone. That’s when I found what I believe to be the best way to cook broccoli, ever, Caramelized Broccoli
The recipe came up many times in my search and while I can’t be certain, I think it originated with Chef David Gingrass, a well-known Bay Area chef. In one article he said it would make a Broccoli lover out of a hater. If you are a broccoli lover like me you then become obsessed. It is easy to prepare, but takes a bit more time and effort than putting it in a steamer. This is a small price to pay for the fantastically delicious results.
Now, even though I have made this recipe a number of times, I can’t quite leave it alone. If you can caramelize broccoli, what other vegetables would benefit from this technique? The short answer is lots. And so the experimentation begins…
The requirement of any vegetable is that it can be cut into a good-sized slab creating at least one flat surface. It also needs to be fairly dense since it is going to be under pretty intense heat. While the experimentation continues, here are two vegetables that were wonderful.
Zucchini was my first test. Halving it lengthwise and creating chunky fingers was the perfect shape, The garlic, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice were an ideal complement to the creamy texture that the caramelizing created. To carry the experimentation further, I will be trying yellow squash and perhaps eggplant.
The next experiment was Cauliflower. This was certainly not a huge leap as it is closely related to broccoli. Cut into thick steaks, it too, was a delectable addition to a dinner plate. In this case it joined Steak and Roasted Beets.
I’ve just conducted a mini brainstorming session and have added Carrots, Leeks, Sweet Potatoes, and Delicata Squash to my list of possibilities. I’m sure this is only the beginning.
I think that this calls for a “Master Recipe” of sorts. So, without further ado, here we go:
A master recipe to create golden, sweet, and tender vegetables. Cooking times will vary by vegetable. You are looking for golden brown and tender.
- 1 Pound Vegetable "Planks"
- 2 Tbsp. Olive OIl Divided
- 1 - 2 Tbsp. Water
- 2 Cloves Garlic Sliced
- 1/2 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 - 2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
Cut firm, dense vegetables into flat slices about 3/4" thick.
Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a deep skillet that has a lid. The heat should be medium high.
Lay the vegetables in the skillet cut side down. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes (depending on the vegetable) until they are golden brown.
Add the water cover again and cook until water evaporates, and vegetables are barely tender, 3 - 6 minutes.
Add remaining Oil, the Garlic and Pepper Flakes. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the garlic is golden. 3 -5 minutes.
Remove to a plate and drizzle with the Lemon Juice and serve.
This technique would make even the most vegetable resistant eater into a fan. Here’s hoping that you will give it a try. I know that I will continue to experiment with other vegetables and maybe even other flavors. It is easy and oh so delicious.