Published January 1, 2008.
Roasting can concentrate flavor, turning dull vegetables into something great. Could it transform broccoli?
Broccoli's awkward shape, tough stems, and shrubby florets make it ill suited for cooking via high, dry heat. How do you get the florets and stalks to cook at the same rate and brown evenly when their shape doesn't permit most of their surface to come in direct contact with the baking sheet?
We knew that roasting often adds concentrated flavor and dappled browning to vegetables. We wanted to prepare broccoli to suit this technique.
We needed to cut the broccoli to maximize contact with the baking sheet. We found that wedges worked well for the delicate part of the broccoli head. We sliced the crown in half and then cut each half into uniform wedges that lay flat on the baking sheet. Then we sliced off the stalk’s tough exterior and cut it into rectangular pieces slightly smaller than the more delicate wedges, which promoted even cooking. Tossing a scant 1/2 teaspoon of sugar over the broccoli along with salt, pepper, and a splash of olive oil gave us blistered, bubbled, and browned stems that were sweet and full, along with crispy-tipped florets.list of recipes