I have a confession to make. I've owned a lovely Canon 40D DSLR camera for seven years, and I still don't know how to really use it. If I take a good picture, it's thanks only to having a bit of talent at composing shots and a good camera and lens to take them. But I don't know how to use them, which is kind of pathetic. I shouldn't still be pushing buttons at random after all this time. But my friend Kevin -- who is a much more ambitious amateur photographer than I've turned out to be (because let's be real -- I haven't learned because I didn't make it a priority) -- was kind enough to give me a lesson in aperture, shutter speeds, ISO, and flash last week. And now I understand, at least enough to do purposeful trial and error with my camera settings. So I present to you: Broccoli! Less crappily photographed than it would have been before.
My diet has been woefully short on green veggies lately, so I needed a little vegetable inspiration to kick things into gear. I enjoy browsing Pinterest and occasionally pull a recipe from it, but it can be a bit of a hodge podge -- too many creamy/cheesy/fattening recipes for my taste. Instead, I turned to my favorite blog, Smitten Kitchen, and this broccoli recipe practically screamed out "Pick me!" And I did, because really, how can you go wrong with anything that involves olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes? You can't, and I ate two giant stems of broccoli to prove it. I didn't imagine anything would ever overtake roasted Brussels sprouts as my go-to veggie dish, but I think the broccoli wins in a photo finish, thanks to it being significantly cheaper and easier to prepare and, of course, awesomely tasty.
Crispy Broccoli with Garlic & Lemon
Adapted from a Smitten Kitchen recipe
Serves 2 as a side
1 pound fresh broccoli, washed and patted dry
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
A few pinches of red pepper flakes, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
Finely grated zest of half a lemon, or more to taste
Juice of half a lemon, or more to taste, to finish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut/break your broccoli into florets. Peel off and discard the tough outer skin on the stem. Cut the stem into 1/2" segments. (They cook up wonderfully this way, and at the same speed as the florets.)
Drizzle the first tablespoon of oil over your baking sheet or roasting pan and brush or roll it around so it’s evenly coated. Add the broccoli to the pan and toss with remaining olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes, salt, and lemon zest until they’re evenly coated. )You can use a bit more olive oil if needed -- the end result will still be delicious -- but the more you use, the less crispy your broccoli is likely to be.)
Roast for 20 minutes, then use a spatula to flip and move pieces around for even cooking. Roast another 10 to 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes, until broccoli is toasted to your preference.
Taste a floret and add more salt and pepper flakes if needed. Shower with fresh lemon juice and serve immediately.