Tuesday, April 9, 2013

IHCC: Loving the Leaf!

Leafy food, that's a nice idea. Strangely, though, French grocery stores and markets, at least in this area, don't regularly carry lots of leafy greens. Spinach or chard or spinach or bok choy, on occasion, but not dependably and not always looking their freshest. It's odd, because I know the French eat these things. I see recipes in magazines for one thing. Out walking, it's not uncommon for us to meet neighbors with sacksful of dandelion greens (for salads or, coarsely chopped, added to bean soups). Lettuce, is in the shops, of course, and sacks of mixed greens, but I didn't remember noticing a recipe.

There was broccoli in the fridge wanting to be used. So I could wait to go to the grocery store hoping to find an interesting green (one that wasn't cabbage, please, since I'm still finishing off the chinese cabbage I bought last week) or I could use up my broc with a recipe I already had my eye on. I decided on the broccoli and was glad I did because I found no interesting leafy green things when I went to the store the next day.

Broccoli is our favorite veg so I always have my eye out for different ways to use it. To that end I marked Chargrilled Broccoli with Chili and Garlic in Ottolenghi (p41)—sorry, make that Chilli, this is a UK book—when I read through the book.

This recipe is fairly easy to make, although nothing compared to my sort of standard steamed broccoli dressed with a bit of garlic and red pepper flakes that have been warmed in olive oil. Actually it's rather similar to that, but different, if you know what I mean,

Broccoli florets are partly cooked in boiling water, then drained, shocked in ice water to stop the cooking, and drained again. The very dry broccoli is tossed with olive oil and lots of coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. They they're grilled on a very hot ridged grill pan, in batches if necessary, till they are nicely grill-marked. While you're grilling, warm some olive oil in a small skillet with lots of thinly sliced garlic and some thinly sliced, mild red chilies. Take this off the heat when the garlic begins to turn golden. When all the broccoli is grilled, toss it with the garlic-chili oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

There's nothing really fancy about the recipe, but the grilling adds a nice flavor to the dish. I wouldn't make this if I were making something else fussy that wanted lots of attention, but it is nice if you're mildly occupied in the area of the stove and are available to pay a bit of attention. It is nice that, once assembled, the dish can wait till the rest of the meal is ready to eat.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.


  1. Hi Kayem,
    Another delicious salad I'm seeing at IHCC! Broccoli is one of my most favourite veggie, anyway it is done! Having it in salad is one of my favourite way of eating broccoli!

  2. I think broccoli was a great choice--it has leaves! ;-) I like the pairing with the garlic and chilies and of course grilling makes everything better.

  3. This is something my family would enjoy--myself included. I love those browned bits on broccoli (or cauliflower).

  4. This recipe is a great choice, Kaye. Actually I've had this one bookmarked for ages - I love the idea of chargrilling the broccoli. I wouldn't be worried about making anything else fussy at the same time, as I would be quite happy to just make a meal of this :-)

  5. Kaye - Like you, I have a hard time finding great fresh greens. My grocer only carries one batch of swiss chard at a time and if that batch is lacking then I'm completely out of luck. Having access to great produce is something I long for.

    Saying that, broccoli is absolutely my very favorite vegetable. I actually crave it. This dish looks absolutely delicious.