Sunday, January 10, 2010

Roasted Broccoli / Cauliflower that anyone will LOVE

Sunday, January 10, 2010
Let me start out by saying I HATE broccoli and I DESPISE cauliflower. Truly. I hear their names and think "blech". Something about all broccoli and all cauliflower just turns my stomach.

Until now.

I have found a way to prepare broccoli and cauliflower that is not only healthy but fan-freakin-tastic. I wouldn't lie to you!

The secret is roasting it at high high heat and few tricks along the way...

1. Get a fresh head of cauliflower or broccoli. No frozen and not pre-chopped in a bag. It is too "moist" and won't turn out right. In fact it will be down right awful. It must just be the head of the broccoli or cauliflower. I know it's going to be weird buying it. If you don't like broccoli or cauliflower, you'll be thinking, "I just know I'm going to hate this". Buy it anyway!

2. Now, this may sound gross but don't wash the broccoli/cauliflower. It's going to be in the oven at 425 degrees, it'll kill anything on it.  If you must wash it, you have to dry it so that there is not a remaining drop of moisture on it.

3. Get out a cookie sheet and cover it with aluminium foil. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

4. Cut up the broccoli (I'll just use 'broccoli' for the rest of the instructions -- but it's the same whether you are using broccoli or cauliflower). Now -- you must must must cut the broccoli into small pieces. If the pieces are too big they won't taste good. Only use the crowns and cut them into pieces no bigger than 1" square. As you cut them, throw them onto the cookie sheet.

5. Get out some olive oil. Give the broccoli a good drizzle (1-2 tbsp) and then sprinkle with kosher salt and use those hands to mix it all together. You may find you need to add a bit more oil. The oil will cook off and also be left in the pan, so don't think that because you're adding all that oil that you will be ingesting all that oil. Besides, olive oil is your friend. Arrange the broccoli so it's in 1 layer on the cookie sheet.

6. By now the oven should be heated up. Put the broccoli in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. I know right now you broccoli-haters are thinking, "I am going to hate this". I thought the same thing. I didn't believe I could like, no wait, that I could LOVE broccoli. You can too!

7. After the 15 minutes are up, take the broccoli out and mix it around a bit. Rearrange it on the cookie sheet and throw it back into the oven for another 12-15 minutes.

8. When the timer goes off, take the broccoli out of the oven. You will know when it is done. The edges will be "crispy" looking and it will have gotten lots smaller and darker in color.

9. Now if you are a salt person give it another sprinkle of salt. Then take some lemon juice (I use "real lemon" stuff but you could use an actual lemon).  I use about 2 tsp worth of lemon juice. Sprinkle it all over the broccoli. Then, get some fresh grated Parmesan cheese (I use the Trader Joes pre-shredded kind -- it comes in a tub and is very convenient).  Grab some of that and sprinkle it all over your broccoli. Now mix it up. Don't be scared.

10. Serve it up, eat and enjoy. Seriously I eat like 3 crowns of broccoli this way. It's soooo good!!!

I think the trick is that the olive oil almost 'oven fries' them. The fact that they are so small, all the moisture is removed. All of that bad broccoli/cauliflower taste goes away and you are left with something magnificent.

If I could eat pasta on my diet I would toss the roasted broccoli in with some pasta, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, white wine, and crushed red pepper. Maybe even add in some shrimp or chicken breast. Now that would be delicious!

But as it is, I devour it just as it is, as a side dish. I'm not a vegetarian but I could easily make a meal out of it with maybe a sweet potato on the side.

I am pretty sure you can do this with other vegetables too -- I have tried Brussels sprouts - which I also LOATHE and they came out "just okay".  I realized that my problem was that they were too big - I cut them in half but I think they need to be smaller. So I would recommend quartering them instead of halving them.

That's it.. enjoy!

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