What do you usually do with a head of broccoli, or better, broccolo? Boil it, steam it, or even eat it raw?? I’ve never had anything against this vegetable since I feel very fond of pretty every vegetable under the sun – yet I can’t say I’ve felt about it the same as about cauliflower (which I find has more flavor); till now, that is! Having discovered this tasty secret of oven-roasting vegetables not long ago, I’ve been oven-roasting more or less every vegetable that found its way into my kitchen: from tomatoes, peppers, chilies to parsnip, celery, onion, and finally – broccoli. Cooked or steamed broccoli is O.K. – roasted broccoli ROCKS. Drizzle it with a little olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly milled pepper, and then off into the oven with it – expect to fall in love. Not a broccoli fan? Well, maybe the time has come for you to give it another chance! At least I would if I were you!
So I had this small head of broccoli in the fridge, waiting to be steamed (which is what I’d usually do with it) or cooked in a stew (I like to add the florets right at the end of cooking, once I’ve divided the stew into 2 portions – one broccoli-less portion for Juanpi and the other all-kind-of-veggies-that-only-I-like-to-eat portion for me). Being home alone for lunch was probably the reason for an all-broccoli inspired meal: a soup made of broccoli stems, stalks and leaves, pureed into a cream, followed by roasted broccoli and tomato crostini and a roasted broccoli salad with yogurt dressing. What a lunch that was, oh my!
And this is how I prepared it:
Crostini and salad:
I chopped the broccoli florets into slices, placed them on a baking tin lined with baking paper. I added some slices of tomatoes, too, and drizzled all together with olive oil and seasoned with a little sea salt and ground pepper. I roasted the veggies at 150ºC (upper rack of the oven) for about 20-25 minutes (more or less – depends on your oven). Some of the broccoli florets were tossed into salad with a simple yogurt dressing (yogurt+vinegar+olive oil), the rest joined the tomatoes in composing a simple crostini: I brushed a few bread slices with olive oil and toasted them in the oven for 10 minutes. Then I layered them with roasted tomato and broccoli slices, and topped them with a bit of grated sheep milk cheese. Placed them back into the oven to allow the cheese to melt and that was it!
I used up the rest of broccoli head (=the stalk, stems and leaves) for the soup by chopping them finely, then adding them to a small amount of home made stock (seasoned). I simmered it with an addition of chopped fresh oregano for 15 minutes or so (till al dente, not too soft), then I processed the soup into beautiful green cream. I topped it with a dollop of thick sour cream and decorated with crushed pink peppercorns and with a couple of oregano leaves.