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September 19, 2007 / Tony

Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic

Side dishes can sometimes steal the show.  Often they are just more sophisticated, balanced, and simply tastier than that big slab of meat on a plate.  This is the situation I faced at my latest dinner.  Here’s what it looked like:


The salmon was an insipid thing, hardly even worth mentioning.  Due to the fact I live in North Dakota (which by the way, holds the distinction of encompassing the geographic center of North America, which, to my estimation, means we are as far away from the sea as possible), there is little to be had for really good fish.  I had to settle for some farm-raised Chilean salmon which had almost no flavor at all.  My preparation didn’t help it either.  Just a simple rub of salt, pepper, coriander, and ground fennel seeds.  I thought there would be some flavor somewhere but there just wasn’t. 

However, the broccoli was excellent.  Here’s the recipe I used:

Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic, from Food and Wine magazine

3 T extra-virgin olive oil

2 heads of broccoli, about 1 1/4 pounds, stems peeled and heads halved lengthwise

1/2 cup water

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Pinch of crushed red pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 T fresh lemon juice

In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 T of the olive oil.  Add the broccoli, cut side down, cover adn cook over moderate heat until richly browned on the bottom, about 8 minutes.  Add the water, cover and cook until the broccoli is just tender and the water has evaporated, about 7 minutes.  Add the remaining 1 T olive oil along with the garlic and the crushed red pepper and cook uncovered until the garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Season the broccoli with salt and pepper, drizzle with the lemon juice and serve. 

 I admit, I forgot the crushed red pepper and lemon juice but it was still really delicious.  The caramelized broccoli had just an ethereal sweetness to it, sweet but just so.  It not only added flavor but a wonderful texture contrast to the dish.  The garlic (which I didn’t brown because I think it turns bitter), added a wonderful creaminess to the dish.  This is definitely something I want to do again, maybe next time with all of the ingredients! 

UPDATED:  I have made this recipe again and have made one modification to it.  Instead of using lemon juice at the end, I used soy sauce.  It turned out really well.  The soy added a nice saltiness and tang while just perking up the whole dish with the acidity in it as well as it giving it a nice Asian feel.  That last fact, in turn, makes it a great side to Asian dishes. 



Leave a Comment
  1. chocolateshavings / Sep 21 2007 2:16 pm

    That sounds really good! It could defintely be the main meal of a dinner, or can probably be served with some white rice. Great recipe!


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