Broccoli: Simple and Fabulous

I love broccoli.  Usually I think it’s best if it’s simple.  I recently needed to bring a vegetable side dish to a friend’s house for dinner.  I went back and forth between a few different options.  It’s always tricky picking a dish for a pot luck.  I don’t really know what other people are bringing, I don’t know if the host or certain critical mass doesn’t like a certain ingredient, and in this case I didn’t even know how much to make.

After hemming and hawing over a few different options I decided to keep it simple stupid: roasted broccoli.  I checked the food network website because this was something I could picture Ina Garten making.  That’s the funny thing when you’re a Food Network fan, when I’m thinking about certain dishes, I can usually pick a chef from the line up that probably has a recipe that I want to use for it.

Ina had a good looking recipe for roasted broccoli with garlic and parmesan.  Bingo.  I was eating this broccoli like candy, and so were my friends.  So easy, so quick, do delicious.

Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Broccoli

From Ina, scale the amounts to fit the size of your group

Ingredients

  • Broccoli crowns rinsed and cut into florets
  • minced garlic cloves (about 1 clove per serving)
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper, crushed red pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/3 cup per every 3-4 servings

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.  Line cookie sheets with foil.
  2. Combine garlic with about 1/4 cup olive oil and pour mixture over broccoli.  Toss broccoli so it is coated with oil (add oil if needed) and pour out onto baking sheet(s).
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Roast broccoli in oven for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Remove broccoli when edges of florets start to get brown.  Toss warm broccoli with parmesan and serve.
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Green and Loving It

I’ll tell you a secret.  I love a green vegetable.  My two favorite green vegetables are probably broccoli and green beans.  The topic at hand today is the green bean.  The key with the green bean in my mind is that they are cooked but still crunchy.  I’m not a fan of the mushy green beans that are either cooked to death or canned.  A couple years ago I took inspiration from a few different recipes that I saw from various sources and started making a fabulous green bean dish.  This dish has since become a staple at important eating occasions in my family, including a spot at the most important eating occasion: Thanksgiving.

If I were you, I would give this recipe a test run in the next couple of months and you might be convinced to replace a side dish at your own Thanksgiving feast.

Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Almonds

Serves 4, scale up as needed

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs butter (or I used bacon fat this past time)
  • 1 medium onion sliced in half or quarter moons (white or yellow)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb of raw green beans
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • seasoning to taste

Method

  1. Heat a medium sized frying pan on low heat.  Melt butter in pan.  Add sliced onion, then minced garlic.  Allow to cook on low heat until the onion caramelizes and turns a nice brown color.  About 30-45 minutes.
  2. When the onions are close to done, blanch the green beans.  This is done by adding them to boiling water, allow to cook for 4-5 minutes, then transfer beans to an ice bath (bowl with ice water and room for the beans).  The transfer to the ice water will stop the cooking process and leave the beans crunchy.
  3. Meanwhile, give your sliced almonds a quick toast over low heat in a pan on the stove.  This should only take a few minutes, don’t let them get too brown!
  4. When you feel you have reached a good level of caramelization with the onions, add the green beens and almonds to the onions and mix them up.  Give it a sample and season to taste.  Then enjoy!