OTTOLENGHI'S GRILLED BROCCOLI WITH CHILE & GARLIC
Smitten with my experience at Yotam's restaurant, Nopi, in London's Piccadilly Circus, I've committed to trying every last vegetable preparation from his Plenty and Jerusalem cookbooks. So far, every plate has proven that vegetables cooked with thought and care are every bit as tasty and even healthier than their winged, hooved or water plate companions. This broccoli is so flavorful that it is just as good cold as it is room temperature and hot. Leave this plate out on the counter and watch it disappear before dinner has been served. Straight from the container five days later it is every bit as good.
Nota bene: Broccolini may be even better as the superstar crucifer in this dish.
2 heads broccoli (about 1 pound)
Scant 1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 mild red chiles, thinly sliced
Coarse sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Toasted almonds or very thin lemon slices (with skin) for garnish
1. Prepare the broccoli by separating it into florets (leave on the individual small stems that the florets grow on). Fill a large saucepan with plenty of water and bring to a boil. It should be big enough to accommodate the broccoli easily. Throw in the broccoli and blanch for 2 minutes only. Don't be tempted to cook it any longer!
2. Using a slotted spoon, quickly transfer the broccoli to a bowl full of ice-cold water. You need to stop the cooking at once. Drain in a colander and allow to dry completely. It is important that the broccoli isn't wet at all. In a mixing bowl, toss the broccoli with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
3. Place a ridged pan over high heat and leave it there for a least 5 minutes until extremely hot. Depending on the size of your pan, grill the broccoli in several batches. The florets mustn't be cramped. Turn them around as they grill so they get char marks all over. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and continue with another batch.
4. While grilling the broccoli, place the remaining scant 5 tablespoons of the oil in a small saucepan with the garlic and chiles. Cook them over medium heat until the garlic just begins to turn golden brown. Be careful not to let the garlic and chile burn--remember, they will keep on cooking even when off the heat. Pour the oil, garlic, and chile over the hot broccoli and toss together well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
5. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can garnish the broccoli with almonds or lemon just before serving, if you like.