Roasted Broccoli. A delicious ad different way to eat broccoli. Once you eat it roasted you will never go back! Honestly this recipe will change how you look at broccoli forever. Yes it really is that good!
In my student days you could buy a 'Asian Banquet' ready meal box from the supermarket. It wasn't the cheapest meal, (heating a tin of chopped tomatoes and adding a splash of Worcestershire sauce wins that award!) but it was a lot cheaper than a night out or an actual real takeaway.
The standard 'banquet' for 4 was sweet and sour chicken, beef in black bean, chicken with spring onion and ginger, egg fried rice and some asian nibbles - vegetable spring rolls, prawn toast and crispy seaweed. Oh and there was usually a small bag of prawn crackers in there too. I remember the banquet boxes being around £8 (under $16). Which split between ¾ people wasn't bad for a Saturday night. Throw in a cheap bottle of Liebfraumilch or Asti, a deck of cards and you had yourself a very cheap night!
The meals themselves were mediocre, but the seaweed, that was as good as you got from a takeaway. Whenever you ordered prawn toast at the Chinese takeaway in the town I grew up in, you would get it in a little paper bag. I remember so many nights walking back from the cinema eating a bag of prawn toast. And for an extra 50p ($1) you could get a small plastic pot of crispy seaweed. Oh how I love that crispy seaweed. Crispy, salty greenery with a sprinkling of sugar. Yum!
I think it is actually made with cabbage. Thinly sliced cabbage that is deep fried and then dusted with salt and sugar.
The reason I am waffling so happily about Chinese takeaway is that this roasted broccoli dish always reminds me of that delicious seaweed. The broccoli is roasted so the tiny buds start to char and crisp. The resulting broccoli is light years away from plain steamed or boiled broccoli. It has to be cooked and eaten to be believed.
This is the recipe that convinced Mr 4 he liked broccoli, he still decides some days that it is the worst food in the world but as a rule he will eat at least a couple of florets now. In fact I think this is the recipe that convinced me I liked broccoli, before that I ate it because I knew it was good for me and that you have to eat the veg that is on your plate if you want ice cream. That was always the rule when I was growing up, even if there were brussel sprouts on your plate (which I do like now...but that is a whole other story!)
The first time I cooked broccoli to a crisp was on a barbecue. It was a super hot evening and I didn't want to make the house any hotter so I put the chicken on the barbie and thought 'I know I'll put the broccoli florets on too whilst I enjoy the slight breeze outside'. I figured at least the broccoli would be cooked, even if it wasn't that tasty. I was so wrong! It was delicious. I thought I was a genius, then I found that lots of people had been roasting broccoli. Oh well, not a new invention but still one to keep under my belt.
Since then I have made some variations on how I serve it, they are listed as options below the main recipe. But if I am honest I think I enjoy it best of all just roasted with none of the extras....although the pinch of sugar comes a close second...oh and the cheese. Hmmm you had best make your own mind up as I could be here all night!
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- 2 heads of broccoli
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 190C/fan forced 170ºC/Gas mark 5.
- Cut broccoli into large florets.
- Lay the florets in a single layer on a lined roasting tin.
- Drizzle the broccoli with olive oil and sprinkle over the salt.
- Roast the broccoli for 25 minutes until the some of the 'flowers' are charred.
Before cooking add some chopped bacon (or chorizo) to the roasting tin. Cook as directed.
Once cooked drizzle with some sesame oil and sprinkles with chopped chilli.
Once cooked, transfer to a serving dish and crumble over blue cheese.
Once cooked sprinkle over a pinch of brown sugar.