Broccoli is one of those tricky vegetables. Most of us can remember a time in our lives when our parents tried relentlessly to get us to eat broccoli. Many of us currently are parents that are trying relentlessly to get our kids to eat broccoli. My dad likes to tell the story of when my parents moved from their first home, the one that made it through my sisters and my early years, they moved a huge piece of furniture and found dried up pieces of broccoli and green beans behind it from my sister and I tossing them back there to avoid having to eat those offensive green things.
So many of us have come to accept broccoli into our diets, some of us may even love it, some of us can take it or leave it, and then there are many broccoli haters still out there. So why do we care about eating broccoli? Because it is part of a potentially cancer-preventing hall of fame called cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli contains phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fiber that make those little green trees very beneficial to your health.
The go-to method of broccoli preparation, steaming, is an easy and quick one, and usually a good one if you don't get carried away...just a couple minutes too long and your left with sad, pale green mush. But it also can be a stinky one, especially when reheating leftovers, and the smell can turn many off. For broccoli lovers and non-lovers alike, I recommend giving roasted broccoli a try.
So here are the basics:
What you will need to feed about 4 people:
- Head or 2 of fresh broccoli depending on size of broccoli
- 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 4-5 cloves fresh garlic (can also do garlic powder if need be)
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash your fresh broccoli and dry it. Cut your broccoli into 1 inch or so florets, no need to get the ruler out, this is not an exact science. Get yourself out a baking sheet and pile your broccoli on it. Drizzle the broccoli with your extra virgin olive oil and toss it with your hands to coat and then spread it out in an even layer on your cookie sheet. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper to taste. Now, you are ready to roast it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the broccoli begins to brown a little.
If you want to get some really good flavor, mince some fresh garlic and sprinkle it over the top before you put it into the oven. For me, I love fresh garlic and there can be no substitution and everyone around here can just hold their horses for the extra couple of minutes it takes for me to get dinner on the table so that I can use fresh garlic. But I understand that sometimes you just don't even have the extra couple of minutes, so about a teaspoon of garlic powder can be sprinkled on before baking instead. Now when you pull your broccoli out of the oven you can really send it to the next level by sprinkling some freshly grated parmesan reggiano on top.
Now, if you are really interested in getting fancy with your broccoli, I'm talking date night or hosting type of broccoli, click here to check out this recipe from Ina Garten from the Foodnetwork. It has now become one of my husband's favorite things I make!