Queens Skillet Broccoli & A Sad Story

by autumn on July 8, 2010

I fell hard for roasted cauliflower this winter. It’s amazing what a few minutes in a smoking hot oven does for the pale, humble crucifer. It has a crispy caramelized shell and a melty, creamy inside. I know I am talking about cauliflower, but–I’m telling you–it’s transformative.

The internet told me that this same method could be used for roasting broccoli and my heart got happy. Except that it is summer in New York City and sorta sweltering. The last thing I want to do (or my roommates want me to do) is turn on the oven. This is why god made cast iron skillets.

I got some cute broccoli from the New Amsterdam Market. It was grown at the Queens County Farm Museum, right in my very borough. It was the star of Queens skillet broccoli. Here’s where the story gets sad: I made the skillet broccoli, ate it with dinner, and promptly spent the entire night throwing up. NOT THE BROCCOLI’S FAULT.

It was good, but not perfect so I wanted to make it again before posting it. I suspect that splashing a little water in the pan when it’s almost done would steam the broccoli a bit and make it more tender. But, after my big night, broccoli and I are taking a break. Bear with me here: I still want you to make this broccoli.

The preparation is minimal, but it’s all in the details. Break the florets of broccoli off of the stalks and don’t worry about trimming the stem. Slice the florets the short way across, not paper thin, but hopefully somewhere between a 1/4 and an 1/8 of an inch. Arrange them in a single layer on a very hot, olive oiled cast iron skillet and do not disturb for 2-3 minutes, then rustle them up.

Reduce heat to med-low and let them rest again for 2-3 minutes. Repeat this process a couple more times.  Eat some. Is it done enough for you? If not, pour a little water into the skillet and let the steam do its work. The results are broccoli that is crispy and sweet. Broccoli that you want to eat.

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