I cook broccoli all sorts of ways–boil, steam, stir-fry, braise, roast. Everything short of blacken. But a recent issue of Fine Cooking introduced me to an entirely new way of cooking it. I couldn’t find the issue last night, but the recipe is so simple I recreated it from memory and it was totally fine.
The author, Tasha DeSerio, calls this method “slow-cooking,” but that suggests that you’re going to dump the broccoli into a Crock-Pot and leave it all day. Really you’re only cooking it for an hour, but it comes out transformed, like broccoli-garlic candy. Okay, that sounds gross. It’s like broccoli as Smoove B would serve it. It’s broccoli confit.
Adapted from Fine Cooking Dec 2005/Jan 2006
The amount of oil may sound excessive, but don’t cut back or it’ll end up dry. Besides, it’s olive oil, right? The garlic will turn into irresistible brown, chewy slices by the end.
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups small broccoli florets and peeled, sliced stems (about 1-1/2 pounds)
2 ounces pancetta, diced (optional)
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
crushed red pepper flakes
Heat the oil in a large skillet (not nonstick) over medium heat. Add the broccoli, pancetta, garlic, a healthy sprinkle of salt, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Stir well.
Reduce the heat to low. Cook uncovered one hour, stirring occasionally.
As you approach the hour mark, taste a piece of broccoli. If it’s still crunchy, put a lid on the pan and cook covered for five minutes or until broccoli is tender. Season with additional salt to taste and serve hot or warm.