when i’m making a vegetable side dish, there are two key factors that decide if i make it more than once or if the recipe ends up in the recycling bin: (1) it has to be tasty and (2) it has to be quick. given that i’ve made this broccoli dish countless times (seriously, nearly every week ever since i discovered it a couple of years ago), i’d say it satisfies those two criteria.
i originally found the recipe in cooking light, which i took as a good sign. if i’m going to make vegetables, i’d like them to end up relatively healthy. because honestly, if they end up having the nutrition profile of a piece of cake, i’d rather just have the cake! so i guess that means i have three criteria for veggie side dishes. luckily this broccoli is the perfect combination of tasty and healthy.
and quick – did i mention quick? to save time on washing dishes, i line the broiler pan with foil (i know, i know. i feel a little ambivalent about the foil but i’m pretty sure that broiling oil onto the pan wouldn’t do much for the environment either, 3,482 gallons of soapy water down the drain later…) and then just dump all of the ingredients onto the foil. i use my hands to toss them around and distribute the oil and sambal oelek evenly on the broccoli. washing my hands is way easier than washing a bowl, at least in my book.
the only time-saving step i do not recommend is putting the broccoli under the broiler before the garlic is all sliced and ready to go. i’m usually in a hurry when i’m making this and always amazed at how quickly 4 minutes goes by when i’m racing the timer to peel and slice a bunch of garlic cloves. i’ve finally managed to convince myself to just wait a hot minute before i start cooking the broccoli and it’s way less stressful that way. so do yourself a favor and do as i say, not as i used to do.
speaking of a hot minute, the first time you make this, keep an eye on the broccoli until you figure out your broiler’s whims. in our old apartment, i would do 5 minutes and 5 minutes but in our current oven, that produces broccoli briquettes (like charcoal briquettes, but broccoli shaped) so 4 minutes and 4 minutes works much better for us now.
finally, this heats up quickly and deliciously in the microwave so i always make as much as i can cram in the broiler pan so that we can have even quicker, just as tasty and healthy broccoli the next day.
- 2 medium/large heads of broccoli
- 6 large cloves of garlic
- 1 – 2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil
- 1 heaping tablespoon sambal oelek (this will yield a moderately spicy dish; adjust to taste), (homemade for paleo)
- set your oven rack wherever the oven manufacturer recommends for broiling (usually the top rack) and preheat the broiler. line broiler pan with foil.
- peel and slice the garlic into thin (but not crazy paper-thin) slices. set aside.
- wash broccoli and trim off stalk end bits. chop the thick stalk pieces into ¼” thick slices (like coins). chop the florets into bite sized pieces. if you use the stems as natural dividers for your cuts (rather than just attacking the whole head as a solid and chopping it in a grid), you will end up with far fewer tiny broccoli bits scattered all over the counter.
- put all of the broccoli on the broiler pan. drizzle the oil over the broccoli and try to spread the sambal oelek out over the broccoli. use your hands to combine the ingredients and spread the oil and sambal oelek around. sometimes i pick up big handfuls and rub them together gently between my hands to help spread everything around. spread the broccoli out evenly in the pan. don’t add the garlic just yet.
- place the pan under the broiler. set a timer for 4 minutes and keep an eye on the broccoli for the first round of broiling, color should juuuust be starting to appear when you take the pan out for a moment to stir the broccoli around and spread the garlic out over it. put the pan back under the broiler and set the timer for 4 minutes again. keep an even closer eye on the broccoli this time, to make sure it’s not getting too dark towards the end. depending on your broiler, you may need up to 10 minutes total cooking time, split in two segments of 4 – 5 minutes each. the goal is stalks that are still crunchy but not raw, with golden/dark brown spots on the florets. serve immediately.
toasted sesame oil and sambal oelek (red chili-garlic paste) should both be in the international/ethnic/asian aisle at the grocery store. the oil may also be hanging out with his other oil friends like olive and canola but he’ll be more expensive in that aisle.
stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, leftovers keep for several days and reheat well in the microwave.
adapted from cooking light