I don’t like to post recipes without providing a picture, but I know the crappy picture I took late at night while everyone was eagerly waiting to pounce on the food is not going to convince you. I don’t know if my words are going to convince you. Maybe Adam over at The Amateur Gourmet, from whom I got this recipe (and the title of this post, because really, what else is there to be said?), can convince you. Perhaps a read-through of the recipe will sway you. Maybe the fact that we’ve made this recipe 15 or so times but I’ve never managed to make it last long enough for a real photo-shoot will carry some weight.
But really, the only thing for it is please, PLEASE just make this recipe. Make it once, and I won’t need to convince you. Because you’ll taste, and you’ll see, and you’ll know.
It’s broccoli, and it’s roasted. The recipe specifies the broccoli should be completely dry (we just get organic brocc and don’t wash it at all first) and that means you may be headed for your first ever not-gross roasted broccoli. It’s roasted with garlic, which is always a good idea, and the garlic is sliced instead of chopped, which means it doesn’t turn into burnt, bitter, angry little nuggets but instead becomes crisp and the essence of garlic. Then afterwards there is some lemon zest, and some lemon juice, and, as with everything, it’s even better if those lemons are Meyer lemons. And then there are toasted pine nuts, which are so enchanting, so enrapturing, that when you bite into the occasional lemon seed that has slipped into the dish and cunningly disguised itself as a nut you’ll just laugh and laugh because you’re so in love with this broccoli that there’s nothing in the world gonna bring you down.
Adam of The Amateur Gourmet got the recipe from The Barefoot Contessa, and I got him from him. I present it to you here veganized and featuring our choice of flavorings (Adam goes for parmesan and leaves out the basil and pine nuts, we leave out the cheese and herb but can’t imagine it without the pine nuts). We’ve found that kosher salt stays crystallized and gets caught in the broccoli crowns, making them too salty, so we use plain iodized salt or sea salt. I’ve also tidied the recipe a bit – Adam’s wonderful narrative recipe style is a little hard for folks with brain fog (like me!) to follow while trying to cook at the same time.
Writing this post I feel like I sound like Duck when he writes so lyrically and dreamily about The Best Song in the World. Because that’s what this is – the best song in the world, dancing across your tongue.
Roasted Broccoli with Pine Nuts and Lemon Zest
4 to 5 pounds of broccoli (maybe two large bunches)
5 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsps regular salt or sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
3 T pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 425.
Cut broccoli into florets (but relatively big ones.) Here’s the key that she doesn’t mention in the recipe: dry them THOROUGHLY. That is, if you wash them. I didn’t wash my broccoli; I wanted it to get crispy and brown. If you’re nervous, though, just wash and dry it obsessively.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, salt, fresh ground pepper, and stir until the salt is at least somewhat dissolved. Slice 4 cloves of garlic. Toss the broccoli pieces and the garlic slices with the oil in a large bowl, or straight on a cookie sheet if you are brave (line it with foil or parchment if you want easy clean-up).
Roast in the oven 20 to 25 minutes, until “crisp-tender and the tips of some of the florets are browned.” Keep a good eye on it – you don’t want to burn it, just brown it a bit.
While the broccoli is roasting, toast 3 Tbs pine nuts in a dry pan over medium-high heat, shaking or stirring the pan constantly so the pine nuts get slightly browned but not burned.
When it’s done, take it out of the oven–and here’s where it gets really good–zest a lemon over the broccoli, squeeze some lemon juice over it (a half to a whole lemon, depending on how juicy your lemon is and how acidic you like your food), and add the toasted pine nuts.
Sit down with the pan, someone you love, and two forks. Expect no leftovers.