Sunday, October 30, 2011

Roasted Broccoli

Oh, hello there, blog.  Remember me?  I’ve been a little swamped lately with my new job.  It’s a lame excuse, but it is sadly a presiding truth in my life.  I work in the public schools, and the rumors are true:  education is in trouble.  I truly love working with my kids, but the politics, the paperwork, and the special ed laws are weighing me down.  Sigh. 
Now that I’ve had my pity party, I will share you with a little ray of light I discovered today.  This morning I realized that maybe I’m feeling weighed down because I have stopped doing a lot of the things that make me happy.  Riding my bike, reading, cooking, being outside, blogging, yoga.  I haven’t done any of those things in a long time.  So today, I pumped some air my tires both literally and figuratively, and got on my bike.  It felt amazing, even better than I remembered.  And tonight, I roasted some broccoli, and enjoyed every part of the process.  And now I am whipping out a blog post, which is perhaps not my most eloquent, but at this point, a shoddy post is better than no post at all.
Now about that broccoli… my aunt told my about roasting broccoli years ago, and it didn’t sound particularly good.  Things get brown and crispy in the oven, and “browned” broccoli didn’t appeal to me.  It made me think of that withered head of broccoli you see, when there are only a couple crowns left at 7:30 at night.  Also broccoli can have such a strong flavor, and I didn’t want to intensify that flavor in the oven.  It turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The roasted broccoli actually mellowed out in the oven, and was perfectly complimented by my favorite flavors, lemon and garlic.   The stalks developed the most delightful texture: tender, but not the least bit mushy.  I cut the broccoli into long, thing spears so there was extra stalk.  Some of the little green buds became crispy, and it was so flavorful.  This recipe was quick, simple, and made my apartment smell like pungent, sweet garlic.  Yum.  The recipe below doesn’t call for much garlic, but fear not, it still packs plenty of garlic punch.

Roasted Broccoli (based on Ina Garten’s recipe)

Preheat the oven to 425
Chop 1 large crown (or as much as you like) of broccoli in long, thin spears.
Transfer to a large foil lined baking dish.  Top with the zest of half a lemon, half a clove of grated garlic, a drizzle of olive oil, a large pinch of salt, and lots of freshly ground pepper.
Toss the mixture together with your hands.  Spread out broccoli in an even layer.
Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes.
When the broccoli comes out of the oven, give it a spritz of fresh lemon, and grate some asiago cheese over the top (parmesan would also be good, but asiago is the new parm).