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Don’t Forget Broccoli

By Andrea Geary Published

Skillet roasting brings this easy-to-overlook vegetable to new heights.

Broccoli has always been there for us: It is reasonably priced, is available year‑round, and boasts stellar nutritional stats. How do we show our appreciation? We toss it haphazardly into stir-fries, steam it to a vibrant (but flavorless) jade green, or—perhaps most insultingly—dip squeaky raw florets into bottled ranch dressing. Doesn’t broccoli deserve better?

I wanted a stovetop recipe that would come together quickly and achieve rich browning to enhance the meaty stems and delicate florets. It made sense to start by taking the same general approach that we use for other skillet-roasted vegetables: Steam first, brown second.

I cut a little over a pound of broccoli crowns into wedges to create flat sides for browning and then carefully arranged them so that as many as possible were flush with the pan surface. Next, I drizzled the wedges with 2 tablespoons each of oil and water, added a sprinkle of salt, covered the pan, and cranked the heat. After about 4 minutes, the broccoli was bright green and starting to soften, so I pressed the wedges against the skillet with my spatula for maximum contact with the pan and then replaced the lid. Once the stems were crisp-tender and the undersides had colored, I flipped all the wedges to brown the second side and moved any pieces that were on top so that they had contact with the skillet. I then left the lid off so that any remaining water would evaporate.

How to Cut Broccoli Crowns

This worked pretty well, but the broccoli wasn’t as browned as I had envisioned. That’s because broccoli has lots of undulations and textures that make contact with the pan trickier. Increasing the oil from 2 tablespoons to 5 helped fill the gaps between broccoli and skillet for optimal heat transfer and deep browning.

I had devised an easy, quick method that produced crisp-tender broccoli, with stalks and florets outlined by pleasing bits of sweet, nutty browning. Now to gild the lily.

A mix of ground sunflower seeds, paprika, and nutritional yeast adds flavor and texture to the broccoli without sogging out its crispy edges.

Since sauces and vinaigrettes sogged out my favorite part of the broccoli—the beautifully crisped tips of the florets—I made two dry toppings. Both call for umami-rich, crunchy, well-toasted seeds: One combines sesame seeds with orange zest and salt—my take on the Japanese dry condiment gomasio—and the other features sunflower seeds supported by nutritional yeast and smoked paprika.

Recipe Skillet-Roasted Broccoli

Skillet roasting brings this easy-to-overlook vegetable to new heights.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.