Monday, August 10, 2015

Grilled Broccoli

I hate broccoli.  I really hate broccoli.  I hate it so much that I find myself repeating how much I hate broccoli.  If I could, I would ban broccoli from plates across the country.  That desire is the one and only position that I share in common with the 41st President, George Herbert Walker Bush.  

Over 15 years ago, President George H.W. Bush banned broccoli from the plates served at the White House.  According to the New York Times, President Bush not only declared that he did not like broccoli, but he stated, "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!"  Many a time I have made that same declaration!

But alas, I live with my beautiful Angel, who loves the flowering cabbage that the Italians call "broccolo" and, hence, what we call "broccoli."  She has rightfully pointed out that I do not eat enough vegetables (a fact that is somewhat reflected in this rather meat-centric blog).  Broccoli has a lot of health benefits, including the ability to help lower cholesterol, as well as provide some important vitamins and phytonutrients.

I think that my opposition to broccoli comes from eating steamed broccoli.  I have never really been a fan of the taste of steamed broccoli.  Even knowing the health benefits of broccoli cooked in this fashion, I still figuratively hold my nose whenever I eat it.  

Nevertheless, I wanted to make some broccoli for my beautiful wife, so I went searching for a recipe.  That search led me back to the the New York Times.

Sam Sifton of the New York Times provided a very simple recipe for grilled broccoli.  Just a few ingredients -- balsamic vinegar, tamari or soy sauce, olive oil, and salt -- come together for a very interesting "marinade" that goes on the broccoli just before grilling.  This recipe produces some very tasty broccoli that ultimately led to a caveat to my previous declaration: "I am not going to eat any more broccoli, unless it is grilled." 

A recipe from the New York Times
Serves 4

1 head of broccoli, about 2 pounds, cored and cut 
     into 1 inch florets
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 tablespoon of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Flaky sea salt (optional)

1.  Prepare the grill. Heat the grill, either charcoal or gas, to high.

2.  Prepare the "marinade." In a large bowl, whisk the tamari or soy sauce and the balsamic vinegar together. Add the olive oil while whisking vigorously.  Add the broccoli and toss to coat.   Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.

3.  Grill the broccoli.  Place a grill basket on the grill and add the broccoli to it.  Grill, tossing frequently, until the florets are crisp and tender with just a little bite to them, approximately 10 to 12 minutes.  If you don't have a grill basket, lay the florets out on the grill in a single level and use tongs to turn them frequently.  More work, same result.

4.  Finish the dish.  Transfer the cooked broccoli to a platter or bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with parsley, and, if using, a pinch or two of sea salt.


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