Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Roasted Broccoli With Panko and Parmesan

Yay for Memorial Day weekend, the start of the summer season!

Now, everyone knows that if you go out in the sun at the start of the summer season, you’ve got to build up your sun tolerance and gradually establish a base tan—if you go from an entire winter indoors to an entire day in the sun, you will get badly burned. Well, gentle reader, this fail happened to me over Memorial Day weekend, except with meat. Basically, I got carried away by grilled-meat excitement at the start of BBQ season (including one of Miss Alyce’s lovely rooftop affairs) and did not consume a single other food group (unless you count beer) for two days. It turns out that’s a bit much even for a carnivore like me. This is why I, of all people, came to prepare roasted broccoli as a one-dish meal.

I brought home a nice bunch of broccoli purchased from my new boyfriend Mr. Melon, and preheated the oven to 425°. (This would be the silver lining of the temperature vacillating 20 degrees every other day lately—it most certainly doesn’t feel like the start of summer right now.) I trimmed the bottoms off 4 of the broccoli stems, peeled the fibrous outer layer of skin off the stalks, and sliced each into quarters.

I threw a splash of white wine, some peeled garlic cloves, a healthy pinch of spice rub (leftover from the chicken drumsticks I brought to Alyce’s), and the flesh of a few diced “cocktail tomatoes”, as Mr. Melon calls them, into my trusty Creuset gratin pan. I tossed in the broccoli, drizzled some olive oil, and arranged it so the floret side was facing down and could absorb the liquid.

After the broccoli was getting brown around the edges (I suppose I should have paid attention to the time…15? 20 minutes?), I flipped the broccoli and drizzled a bit more olive oil, shaved on some Parmesan cheese, and sprinkled on some panko breadcrumbs so it was nicely coated. (As I’ve mentioned, I’ve recently come to think of Parmesan as something that integrates well with almost any culture’s food, since even though it’s quintessentially Italian, it’s also basically just a cheesy form of salt, which makes it pretty versatile.)

I returned the dish to the oven and roasted till the crumbs browned (I suppose I should have paid attention to the time…10 minutes?). I let it rest for a few minutes and then ate it as a main course. Okay, fine, maybe I also had like half a cold leftover drumstick from Crown Fried Chicken, so it wasn’t a totally meatless meal. But it was still a lot healthier than the weekend’s diet of hamburger, hot dog, two kinds of sausage, and, er, more chicken drumsticks.

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