crispy broccoli with lemon and garlic

Crispy Broccoli with Lemon and Garlic

Serves 2 as a side

1 pound fresh broccoli
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
A few pinches of pepper flakes, to taste
Finely grated zest of half a lemon, or more to taste
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, minced
Juice of half a lemon, or more to taste, to finish

Heat oven to 425°F (220°C).

Prep your broccoli: Wash broccoli well — seriously, there is always a stem-colored worm hidden in the florets when I buy organic or from a farmer’s market, hooray for fewer pesticides! — and pat dry. Slice straight through the broccoli stem(s) as close to the crown of florets as possible. The crown should naturally break into several large florets, and you can cut these down into more manageable chunks. I find that less mess is made and less broccoli rubble is lost when I cut not down through the florets tops to halve chunks but up through the attached stems. (See 2nd photo above.) After cutting through the stem, I use my hands to break the floret the rest of the way in two. Don’t let the stems go to waste. I peel off the tough outer skin and knots and cut the stems into 1/2-inch segments; they cook up wonderfully this way, and at the same speed as the florets.

Drizzle the first tablespoon of oil over your baking sheet or roasting pan and brush or roll it around so it’s evenly coated. In a large bowl, toss prepared florets and stems with remaining olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes, salt and lemon zest until they’re evenly coated. Spread broccoli in an even layer in prepared pan.

Roast for 20 minutes, then use a spatula to flip and move pieces around for even cooking. Roast another 10 to 15 minutes, checking every 5, until broccoli is toasty and as crisp as you like it. (As you can see, we like a serious char on ours.)

From the oven, taste a floret for seasoning and add more salt and pepper flakes if needed. Shower with fresh lemon juice and eat immediately, as-is or follow one of the adventures below.

7 More Insanely Delicious Things To Do With Crispy Broccoli

  1. Give it the pangrattato and crispy egg treatment that we tossed with spaghetti in February, for a most excellent full meal.
  2. Give it the escarole salad with pickled red onions treatment — pecorino and hazelnuts ground together and sprinkled on the vegetables, plus some pickled onion ringlets. You can skip the lemon, as the pickling juices provide sufficient tangy contrast.
  3. Smash the broccoli between two slices of grilled bread with burrata, fresh mozzarella or even crumbled goat cheese.
  4. Skip the lemon juice and instead finish the broccoli with this sesame-miso dressing. Sprinkle with toasted black and white sesame seeds.
  5. Finish it with this lemon-garlic-tahini dressing. And why not some crispy chickpeas and chopped pistachios, too?
  6. Can you imagine David Chang’s Fish Sauce Vinaigrette on these? I can hardly handle how delicious it would be.
  7. Finally, this could easily be riffed into a bowl with quinoa or another grain.

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