Hey hey, everyone – it’s Friday! That means it’s time for….broccoli!
Oh, that’s not a thing? Well, it is now.
You see, we have broccoli regularly. About once a week. Typically, I just steam it. Which is fine – there is nothing better sometimes than fresh broccoli that is steamed to perfection. Furthermore, when I’ve had a long day, a recipe that takes more than one or two steps seems difficult to me. It’s our stand by.
But last night, I wasn’t quite as beat down as usual, so out of nowhere, inspiration hit. I wanted something different than my usual. I started looking around the pantry for ingredients, and came up with an Italian-inspired mix – pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, flat leaf parsley, and Parmesan cheese. How could you go wrong with a mix like that?
I opted to roast the broccoli to add texture and sweetness. You see, when you roast broccoli, little bits get caramelized, crispy and delicious. I furthered the sweetness with the sun-dried tomatoes, and the tiniest touch of sugar. Toasting the pine nuts also added more roasted nutty flavor, as did the Parmesan. And to keep it fresh, the parsley and a splash of sherry vinegar (which is lighter in flavor than balsamic and a little different than red wine vinegar – I love its uniqueness) brightened the salad right up. Served warm or room temperature, I couldn’t keep out of it. I wanted more.
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean salads have to be off the menu. Furthermore, this salad was totally doable for a weeknight. (Especially when the other components of the meal were simple, such as I made last night. I roasted a chicken and potatoes in a single skillet, which basically consisted of seasoning both and throwing in the oven.) It’s definitely something that will be on the menu in the future, either as is or with variations. I could see substituting cauliflower or Romanesco for the broccoli, and raisins or dried cranberries for the sun-dried tomatoes. This could be made a thousand different ways!
- 1 large head of broccoli (about 1½ lbs)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water and finely chopped
- 1½ tablespoon sherry vinegar (can substitute red wine vinegar)
- ¼ cup chopped Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Chop the broccoli stems into ½ inch pieces and break the florets into small pieces. Toss the broccoli and stems with the olive oil, salt and pepper and spread out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until the edges of the broccoli start to brown and the stems are tender. Remove and place in a medium bowl.
- In a small skillet over medium heat, toss the pine nuts and sugar. Toast, stirring often, until the pine nuts brown and the sugar starts to cling to the nuts. Remove from the pan and add to the bowl with the broccoli. Add in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, and parsley and toss well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm or room temperature.