A batch of roasted broc­coli, four dishes

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The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - by Alex Bluett

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Es­pe­cially tasty, ex­ceed­ingly lo­cal and re­li­ably af­ford­able, this “su­per­food” can be eaten raw and finely sliced in sal­ads and stir fries, sim­ply steamed, bar­be­cued or roasted.

In our house­hold, we roast it with sesame seeds to re­veal a deeper flavour and sat­is­fy­ing tex­ture. Be­low is my go-to recipe for roast­ing an arm­ful of broc­coli. It works well as a side with any num­ber of meat or fish dishes, and keeps well in the fridge for up to four days, al­low­ing you the op­por­tu­nity to trans­form the flo­rets into any num­ber of th­ese quick, flavourful meals.

To roast the broc­coli

1.1kg broc­coli 2 tbsp sesame seeds 3 tbsp rape­seed oil 3 tbsp sesame oil Salt and black pep­per

1 Cut the broc­coli into 3cm flo­rets and place them in a large bowl. The stalk also tastes great, just trim away the woody ex­te­rior, slice up what re­mains and add it to the bowl.

2 Add the rest of the in­gre­di­ents and mix well, so the flo­rets are well coated in oil and sea­son­ing.

3 Place on a bak­ing tray and roast at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for about 20 min­utes, or un­til golden and slightly crisp on the edges. Serve with grilled meat or fish as a quick and tasty side veg­etable. Use up any left­overs in the be­low recipes.

1 The sim­ple salad

Broc­coli and quinoa salad with lemon dress­ing: on the cover A light and healthy salad, ide­ally served with pan-fried or bar­be­cued mack­erel or stuffed into a con­tainer for lunch.

Serves 3-4 100g quinoa 1 bunch of co­rian­der 1 bunch of pars­ley 250g roasted broc­coli A hand­ful of freshly pod­ded young peas (or frozen pe­tit pois) A hand­ful of toasted flaked al­monds Zest of 1 lemon Pea shoots (op­tional)

For the dress­ing

Juice and zest of 1 lemon 4 tbsp rape­seed oil 1 tbsp di­jon mus­tard Salt and black pep­per A gen­er­ous pinch of sugar

1 Whisk all the dress­ing in­gre­di­ents well un­til thick and creamy. Taste and ad­just the sea­son­ing, if needed.

2 Cook the quinoa ac­cord­ing to the in­struc­tions on the packet (or buy a 250g pouch of ready-to-eat grains).

3 Roughly chop the co­rian­der and pars­ley. Place in a mix­ing bowl with the quinoa and roast broc­coli. Fold through the dress­ing and care­fully pile into a serv­ing bowl. Sprin­kle the peas, flaked al­monds and lemon zest over and serve. If you have some pea shoots to hand, use th­ese to gar­nish.

2 The gratin

Roast broc­coli and blue-cheese bake

A quick and com­fort­ing dish.

Serves 3-4

350g penne 250g roasted broc­coli 100g blue cheese 50g bread­crumbs 50g parme­san

For the sauce

50g but­ter 40g plain flour 400ml milk 150g stil­ton or other blue cheese 1 tbsp di­jon mus­tard Salt and black pep­per

1 Boil the pasta with a pinch of salt un­til al dente. Mean­while, make the sauce.

2 Put the but­ter in a heavy-based pan and heat it gen­tly un­til it foams and starts to lightly brown. Pour the flour in and stir to form a light-brown roux. Cook the flour for a minute or so, then add the milk. Whisk well to in­cor­po­rate and bring to a sim­mer. The sauce will look a lit­tle lumpy, but as the milk comes up to tem­per­a­ture the sauce will come to­gether to cre­ate a rich base.

3 Once the sauce has thick­ened, stir in the blue cheese, di­jon mus­tard, salt and pep­per, then al­low the cheese to melt in. Taste and ad­just the sea­son­ing, if needed.

4 Pre­heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Drain the pasta, then add it to the pan with the blue-cheese sauce. Give it a thor­ough mix and then fold in the roasted broc­coli. Trans­fer this into a ce­ramic roast­ing dish, crum­ble with the re­main­ing blue cheese, sprin­kle with the bread­crumbs and grate the parme­san on top.

5 Place in the oven for 25-30 min­utes, un­til the top is golden brown. Serve with a light leafy salad.

3 The soup

Broc­coli soup with herbed croutons and sesame seeds A great-tast­ing soup for chilly evenings that is ideal for us­ing up left­over veg and bread.

Serves 3-4

50g rape­seed oil 1 leek, sliced 2 cel­ery stalks, diced 2 medium onions, diced 2 medium maris piper pota­toes, diced 4 gar­lic cloves 6-7 sprigs of thyme, leaves re­moved from the stems 2 litres chicken stock 500g roasted broc­coli Juice of ½ a lemon Salt and black pep­per

For the croutons

300g stale bread 2 tbsp rape­seed oil 5 sprigs of thyme, leaves re­moved from the stems 5 sprigs of rose­mary, leaves re­moved from the stems 1 tsp smoked pa­prika 1 tsp sesame seeds Salt and black pep­per

1 First, make the croutons. Pre­heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Rip up or cut the stale bread into bite-sized pieces. Place all the crou­ton in­gre­di­ents into a mix­ing bowl and mix thor­oughly, un­til all the croutons have been well coated. Trans­fer them to a bak­ing tray and roast for 15-20 min­utes, or un­til golden and crisp.

2 To make the soup, pour the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and add the leek, cel­ery and onion, stir and cook un­til it is start­ing to colour. Add the pota­toes, gar­lic and thyme, then cook for a fur­ther 2 min­utes. Add the chicken stock, bring to a sim­mer and cook for 15-20 min­utes, or un­til the potato is ten­der.

3 Add the roast broc­coli and, us­ing a hand blen­der, blitz to a smooth and creamy con­sis­tency.

4 Add the lemon juice, sea­son to taste and serve with a good hand­ful of croutons, a sprin­kle of sesame seeds and a driz­zle of sesame oil.

4 The toasted sand­wich

Roast broc­coli grilled cheese

A de­li­cious treat, per­fect for a week­end lunch. Al­ter­na­tively, serve with the above soup for a larger meal. A hot sauce, such as sriracha, gives this a great kick for the spice lovers.

Serves 2

160g ma­ture ched­dar, sliced 4 slices of good qual­ity white bread, such as sour­dough 100g roasted broc­coli A good pinch of black pep­per A splash of Worcestershire sauce 50g but­ter

1 Divide the cheese equally be­tween two pieces of bread. Roughly chop the roast broc­coli and ar­range it on top of the cheese. Sea­son with pep­per and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Top the sand­wiches with the two re­main­ing slices of bread.

2 Spread the top and bot­tom of the sand­wiches evenly with the but­ter. Take a heavy-based fry­ing pan and place over a low heat. Care­fully lay the sand­wiches in the pan and slowly heat, so that the bot­tom of the sand­wich turns crisp and golden, which takes about 3-4 min­utes. Flip the sand­wiches over and cover the pan with a lid, so that the cheese melts. Check ev­ery minute or so to make sure the bot­tom of the sand­wich doesn’t burn.

3 Once the sand­wich is golden brown on the bot­tom and the cheese is ooz­ing out, re­move from the pan and cut each one in half. Al­low them to cool a lit­tle be­fore eat­ing.

Roast your broc­coli with sesame seeds to re­veal a deeper flavour and sat­is­fy­ing tex­ture

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