Do you remember the first time you saw something “blackened” on a restaurant menu? I remember when I saw an entrée called “blackened salmon” and I was wondering why in the world a restaurant would want to serve something burnt!
Of course, I’ve actually learned what “blackened” was since then, and after I learned what it was, I ordered that same entrée the next time I visited.
Blackened salmon was delicious! It had a smoky and charred flavor that worked perfectly well with the oily salmon.
After tasting that particular dish, it got me thinking: what else would taste good blackened?
Then it hit me: vegetables! Particularly, broccoli.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love broccoli. I love it steamed and stir-fried, but every now and again, I want to do something different with this amazing vegetable. So I asked myself, would broccoli taste good blackened?
What is blackened broccoli?
Let’s get this out of the way first: when something is “blackened”, it does NOT mean that the dish is burnt. It only means that the dish is cooked at very high heat so that the edges of the food item would become just a tiny bit overtoasted for enhanced flavor.
In this case, you’ll end up with broccoli that’s a little burnt at the edges. The burnt bits will give you a nice charred flavor that works so well with the rest of the roasted vegetable. Don’t worry; the burnt parts are too small to make the dish bitter or unappetizing!
Do you have to wash broccoli before you cook it?
Yes, you have to wash broccoli before you cook it. Washing vegetables is always a good idea because it removes dirt, fertilizer, and pesticide or insect matter that covers the vegetables. Even if the vegetables were washed at the supermarket, it won’t hurt if you wash it again before you cook it!
Is frozen broccoli same as fresh?
Surprisingly, frozen broccoli is actually better for you compared to fresh broccoli! Frozen broccoli contains 400% more beta-carotene compared to fresh broccoli!
The reason for this is that frozen broccoli is picked at the height of freshness and flash-frozen, thus all the nutrients and vitamins are locked in! With fresh broccoli, the transport process is generally just refrigeration, so they can lose nutrients and flavor during transmit before they even reach you!
Can I use olive oil instead of sesame oil?
Yes, you can use olive oil to coat the broccoli florets instead of sesame oil.
How to store left over broccoli
If you have leftover cooked broccoli, you can store it in the fridge by placing it in a glass bowl. Make sure that the broccoli has cooled to room temperature before placing in the fridge. Place some clingfilm on top of the bowl to prevent the broccoli from drying out (plus cooked broccoli is notoriously stinky—you probably want to avoid allowing the smells to infiltrate other foods in your fridge). We recommend glass over plastic because the temporary storage containers often absorb strong flavors and colors.
The cooked broccoli can keep safely in the fridge for 2-3 days before the vegetables become distasteful. After four days, you may notice that the cooked broccoli starts to break down and becomes too soggy to enjoy. If it has an "off" smell that goes beyond the typical stinky cooked broccoli, your nose knows. It's probably not safe to eat.
Our CookingChew Cooking Tips:
1. How to peel garlic easier
If there’s one thing I hate about cooking with garlic, it’s the smell of garlic that JUST DOESN’T leave my hands after peeling them! If you have a garlic press, it will be a lot easier to peel garlic. However, if you don’t have this handy tool in your kitchen, you can easily peel garlic by using a plastic bowl with a cover.
Place the unpeeled garlic cloves in the plastic bowl and secure the cover in the place tightly. Shake the bowl vigorously in your hands for 1 minute. Open the bowl and voila! The garlic cloves should have popped out of their skins!
2. Don’t throw away the broccoli stems!
After cleaning the broccoli and removing the florets, you’ll be left with the broccoli stem. Don’t throw that baby away! You can make a nice vegetable stock with it (along with any vegetable peels you might have lying around, such as potato skins, carrot skins, etc.). You can also make a nice broccoli puree! Simply chop up the stem, sauté it with some garlic and onions, and blitz it in your food processor. Run the puree through a sieve to remove the stringy bits and you’ll be left with a delicious and smooth broccoli puree.
3. If you can’t microwave broccoli, steam them.
If you don’t have a microwave at home, you can also steam the broccoli for around 5 minutes to make them softer. Don’t ever boil your broccoli because boiling leaches out all the vitamins and flavor from the broccoli!
Charred and Smoky Blackened Broccoli
If you’re looking for a quick and delicious veggie side dish, this charred broccoli recipe is perfect for you! It’s easy to make, flavorful, and makes the perfect accompaniment for Asian-inspired dishes such as Asian Turkey Meatballs. Broccoli is also satisfying and filling, so if you’re going meatless, you can pair it with some black rice for a hearty meal.
What is blackened broccoli? Let’s get this out of the way first: when something is “blackened”, it does NOT mean that the dish is burnt.
- 2 heads fresh broccoli, washed and florets removed (stalks and stems reserved for another use)
- 2 12 oz. bags of frozen broccoli florets
- 2 T. water
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 T. olive oil, divided
- 1 t. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 T. unsalted butter, divided
- 2 T. sesame oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Place fresh or frozen broccoli florets in microwave-safe bowl with 2 T. of water. Microwave on high until florets are crisp and tender. Cooking time may vary, so check the florets after 2 minutes. Florets must be bright green, tender, but still crisp and firm.
- While florets are cooking, peel the garlic and mince finely.
- Add half the chopped garlic to cold skillet with 1 t. of olive oil. Heat to medium and add ½ t. of crushed red pepper flakes (if desired) and 1 T. of butter. Sauté garlic until golden-brown and aromatic, stirring constantly to prevent garlic from burning.
- Add ½ broccoli florets to pan and increase heat to medium-high. Stir broccoli constantly to prevent burning and sticking.
- Cook until broccoli florets are blackened and crisp at the edges.
- Remove broccoli florets from skillet and place in a large glass bowl. Cover to keep warm and set aside.
- Repeat process with remaining garlic, olive oil, crushed chili flakes, and broccoli florets.
- When second batch is finished, add to the bowl with original batch.
- Drizzle with sesame oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss the broccoli florets to coat them completely.
- Serve immediately.
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Brighten Up the Dish!
If you want to add a bit more flavor, squeeze some lemon juice on the broccoli florets just before serving. The lemon juice will brighten your dish and work perfectly with the smoky and garlicky flavors.
The added lemon juice can also help if you’ve added a little too much garlic.
What Can I Serve This With?
Vegetable side dishes are my favorite! If you want to add another veggie side dish, you can whip up a batch of these Texas Roadhouse Green Beans. Trust me, with the hearty green beans and the crisp broccoli, you might not even miss the meat!
This delicious recipe is a great way to introduce your kids to broccoli. If the sesame oil is a bit too strong, you can swap out the sesame oil with olive oil or a bit of butter. After tasting this, don’t be surprised if your kids will request veggies as a side dish more regularly.