Toting a fuchsia day planner jammed with dozens of nicely folded pieces of paper, I have stepped onto the life roller coaster at full speed. So having 'quick and easy' menu items in the repertoire simplifies the evening. Broccoli, the perfect little vegetable package that it is, is always in my refrigerator anxiously awaiting the oven. Roasted broccoli is a main fallback recipe...but when I am hungry from a busy day and evening of activities, the roasting process leaves me pacing and sweating for the timer to ring.
So the other night I remembered the concept of searing, and thought I'd compare this method to roasting. To my pleasant surprise, it does create a similar result. There were a few bonus features too. One benefit of searing is that you don't have to use nearly as much oil as in roasting. You are at more liberty to use lighter flavors such as lemon juice and hot sauce to flavor the charred broccoli. The huge other benefit is that it takes far less time to cook, allowing you to eat and enjoy sooner. So whip up your favorite dressing or try the one I concocted...and have yourself an easy side dish.
Spicy Seared Broccoli
Makes 1 entree serving or 2 appetizer/side dish servings
2 broccoli bunches, florets cut
1 medium lemon, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
Sriracha hot sauce (amount to your heat level preference)
1 garlic clove, minced
Splash of soy sauce
1/2-1 tsp olive oil
Make the dressing first by whisking the lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, soy sauce and then olive oil. Set within arm's reach of the stove.
Place a saute pan over medium to high heat. Without any oil or water, add the broccoli. Continue to press the broccoli over the dry heat with a spatula, tossing occasionally, until the broccoli starts to char. This usually takes about 10 minutes. Once it is cooked thoroughly, turn off heat. You can either add the dressing in the hot pan or drizzle over the broccoli once you plate it.
From several experiments, I have found that if you add the dressing to the hot pan it almost immediately evaporates and sizzles, which can be good, so the broccoli doesn't get soggy. A little bit of the flavor gets lost this way, but still produces a tangy, spicy dish. If you add the dressing to the plated broccoli, it is more like a dressing and allows you to dip the broccoli in a little bit of the leftover dressing. Either way, it is a spicy, healthy side dish.