Friday, March 2, 2012

Broccoli even a Bush could love

The Democrat in me hates to admit this, but I was solidly in former President George Herbert Walker Bush's camp on broccoli: “I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli.”

Most broccoli makes me involuntarily gag. I just can't tolerate it. I've tried it cooked to almost mush, but I tend to like it better when it's still bright green. I've tried soaking it in hot sauce, garlic or lemon. Sometimes that helps, sometimes not. Saucing it with cheese usually works pretty good, and I came up with a mash (click HERE for recipe) that goes down good, but cheese has lots of calories and cholesterol, so I don't eat it too often.

But on this week, I saw what may be the perfect broccoli recipe. I made it tonight, and it was wonderful. We didn't even need the lemon wedges. It may even get Jim to try Brussels sprouts, using the same technique.

Roasted Broccoli Bagna Cauda
By Lisa Lavery on

Total time: 30-40 minutes
Makes: 2 to 3 servings

1 1/2 pounds broccoli
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 anchovy fillets, minced
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Heat the oven to 475°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place a baking sheet in the oven while it is heating.

Trim about 1 inch off the stem ends of the broccoli. Using a vegetable peeler, peel away the woody outer layer of the stalks. Halve the broccoli lengthwise through the stem and florets. Turn the pieces so that they are cut-side down, then cut them lengthwise through the stem and florets into 1/2- to 3/4-inch-wide pieces. Cut those pieces crosswise into 2-inch pieces. Place the broccoli in a large bowl and set it aside.

Place the oil in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until just warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add the anchovies and garlic, stir to combine, and cook until the garlic is softened but not browned and the anchovies are fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the red pepper flakes; transfer the oil-anchovy mixture to a small heatproof bowl. Once the solids have settled to the bottom, tilt the bowl (being car not to disturb the solids), remove 2 tablespoons of the oil, and drizzle it over the broccoli. Set aside the remaining oil-anchovy mixture. Sprinkle the broccoli with the salt and pepper and toss until evenly coated.

Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and spread the broccoli in an even layer on it. Roast until the edges start to brown, about 10 minutes. Using a flat metal spatula, flip the broccoli, scraping it up from the pan, and spread it back into an even layer. Continue roasting until it is just tender when pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes more.

Transfer the broccoli to the large bowl, add the remaining oil-anchovy mixture (including the solids), and toss to combine. Serve with lemon wedges, if using.


  1. This sounds positively yummy! I wonder if it would work well with asparagus, since it's starting to come into season.

  2. It probably would, although roasted asparagus is pretty yummy just with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.