Easy broccoli side dish two ways

Crispy broccoli is easy to make, delicious, and even popular with many children who tend to be skeptical of the limp, steamed version. It's an easy side dish that takes very little time to prepare, and also makes a tasty pasta topping.

Here are two versions, one for the stovetop and one for the oven. I like to use the oven version when I have something else in the oven at the same time. I often have broccoli on an upper rack and cubed potatoes on a lower rack.

For either version, first you want to break your broccoli head down to florets.

1) Cut off the bottom of the stem where the broccoli was cut from the plant, and discard. If the broccoli is old or is a particularly large head, the bottom couple of inches of the stem might be hard and fibrous, cut these off also, and discard/compost/feed to the chickens.

2) Cut off each floret where it attached to the main stem. Cut larger florets in half lengthwise.

3) Use the stem also! It's delicious and crunchy. I usually have a small child at my elbow ready to snap up stem pieces to eat raw, but if they make it that far, they can go in with the florets. I cut each stem in half lengthwise, then cut each half lengthwise into sticks, but you can also leave the stems whole and cut crosswise into disks.

Stovetop steam-saute method

This is the faster way to cook the broccoli, and the one I usually use if I have no need of the oven for anything else.

In a pan for which you have a lid, put in enough water to just cover the bottom. Put the broccoli on top, and season with salt, pepper, and optional (but delicious) minced garlic to taste. Drizzle a generous amount of oil on top (I use avocado oil).

Put on the lid and put the pan over high heat. The water will boil and steam the broccoli in about 3 minutes (you will see the broccoli turn a vivid green color). Remove the lid and let the water evaporate; lower the heat to medium.

Saute the broccoli, only stirring occasionally. The crispy, delicious golden brown patches develop with prolonged contact with the hot pan -- if you stir too frequently, the broccoli will cook without browning. If the broccoli soaks up all the oil and starts burning before it is done, add more oil -- broccoli will often need more oil than you initially think. 

Oven method

Preheat the own to 420F. In a bowl, mix the broccoli florets with a high smoke point oil (again, I use avocado), salt, pepper, and garlic powder (while fresh garlic is almost always superior, I use the powder here since it sticks to the broccoli better and won't burn in the hot oven)

Spread the florets evenly on a baking sheet -- for maximum crispiness, they should fit in a single layer and not be crowded. I like to line the pan with a reusable silicone baking mat, but parchment paper would also work, or you don't have to use anything if you don't mind cleaning the baking sheet afterwards. 

Bake until the broccoli is soft on the inside and charred on the outside, about 20 minutes. For more even browning, mix once halfway through, but I don't usually do this. Enjoy!

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