Thursday, April 9, 2009

Broccoli, two ways.

I was never one of those kids that didn't like broccoli. You've already heard my rant about how much I love brussel sprouts, so I'll spare you that.

Last week I bought two heads of broccoli. It's now almost in season and pretty cheap (if you're buying it off the back of a truck on 13th and Oxford). I ate them two different ways, each easy, cheap and delicious.

The first way you see broccoli is roasted, with shrimp. I don't ordinarily buy real protein--I eat more beans and tofu than I do chicken and fish. But this recipe is a darling of the food blog community (much like no-knead bread)--everyone was making and obsessing over it.

I can understand why. The broccoli gets tender, sweet and deeply flavorful, and the shrimp get cooked perfectly and stay juicy. Oh, and the hardest part is waiting for dinner to be ready.

I halved the recipe, as I was cooking for one, and had plenty for lunch the next day. I also edited the spices a little bit, because I loathe coriander. Watch the quantities in the recipe, not in the ingredient list--most of them get divided. The broccoli also goes in before the shrimp--a point I missed--so I just roasted them for an extra 5 minutes. Everything was fine.

Roasted Broccoli with Shrimp
2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot chili powder
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined (you can buy them this way at Whole Foods)
1 1/4 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
Lemon wedges, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss broccoli with 2 tablespoons oil, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and chili powder. In a separate bowl, combine shrimp, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

2. Spread broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Add shrimp to baking sheet and toss with broccoli. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until shrimp are just opaque and broccoli is tender and golden around edges, about 10 minutes more. Serve over rice with lemon wedges, or squeeze lemon juice all over shrimp and broccoli just before serving.

The second offering I have is one that I've made before. I can't find the post, but instead of orecchiette, I used tennis racket shaped pasta and so much cayenne pepper it was barely edible.

I've toned down the recipe since then, but still used cayenne because I lack red pepper flakes.

Spicy Orecchiette with Broccoli
From Martha Stewart's Everyday Food

12 oz. Orecchiette or other short pasta
2 cloves garlic
2 Tb olive oil
1/4 t or less cayenne pepper, or 1/4 to 1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 head broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
1/2 cup good parmesan

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add garlic and cayenne/red-pepper flakes; cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add broccoli and 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until broccoli begins to soften, about 8 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until water has evaporated and broccoli is crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes more.

3. To pasta in pot, add broccoli mixture, Parmesan (reserving some for later), and enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta. Serve sprinkled with remaining Parmesan.

This technique is called "pan steaming" which allows you to steam, then caramelize the vegetable afterwards. I use it for brussel sprouts all the time.

Things to look forward to: finished knitting projects, "the quilt", more dessert, meatballs, sweet tea, matzoh, and a love letter to a brownie.

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