You haven’t heard me mention the O word in a while have you?
Well, this week I received three heads of calabrese broccoli in my veg box. There was the broccoli that was supposed to be in the box, plus extra broccoli to substitute for the lack of runner beans. Now, I’m not a huge fan of runner beans anyway, but three heads of broccoli? Broccoli used to be my favourite vegetable, but I’ve been a bit bored of it lately. What can you actually DO with broccoli? Perhaps the problem is I haven’t made many stir fries lately.
Anyway I was on the way home from school last Monday night, when I developed a sudden craving for fish. Perhaps it’s my brain cells telling me it needs some fish in order to keep up. Being a student again is challenging!
Only Sainsbury’s was open at this point, we’re talking the medium size Sainsbury’s, the one that’s not a full-size supermarket but that’s not a Sainsbury’s Local either. I forget what they call them. Anyway, the only MSC-certified fish I could see was a foil container of Cornish sardines with chilli, garlic and lemon. It wasn’t the most appetising looking thing on the shelf but I decided to try it.
Now, to the broccoli. I had recently invested in a griddle pan, so I was very keen to try Ottolenghi’s Chargrilled Broccoli with Chilli and Garlic from the first Ottolenghi book. While the fish cooked, I prepared the broccoli.
Well – I was really impressed by the sardines. They tasted really fresh and not too fishy, as sardines can get sometimes. I could definitely taste the chilli. The broccoli went with the fish perfectly, and was definitely tasty enough to banish my broccoli boredom. Now I need to go and buy some more chillis so I can use up the rest of my broccoli.
Chargrilled Broccoli with Chilli and Garlic
2 heads of broccoli
100ml olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 mild red chillies, thinly sliced
coarse sea salt
lemon slices (optional)
Separate the broccoli into florets and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes – don’t be tempted to cook longer! Remove immediately to a bowl of ice water, then drain and leave to dry completely.
Once the broccoli is dry, toss with 40ml of the olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Place a griddle pan on high heat and leave for 5 minutes until smoking hot. Grill the broccoli in batches on the hot pan, turning to get lovely char marks on all sides.
While the broccoli is cooking, place the remaining oil in a small saucepan together with the garlic and chillies and cook on a medium heat until the garlic begins to turn golden brown. Be careful not to let the garlic and chilli burn – they will continue cooking in the hot oil even when off heat.
Pour the garlic and chilli oil over the hot broccoli and toss well. Season to taste and serve immediately or at room temperature.