A batch of roasted broccoli, four dishes
A Jordanian-inspired feast
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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.
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.
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.
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