Sara’s Broccoli Game-Changer
Happy Wednesday! Thanks so much for all your messages & prayers & comments, & especially for the lovely early reviews so many of you have posted on your blogs. If you’re a blogger who received an early copy of Bread & Wine and you haven’t yet posted about it, next week would be amazing–thank you times one thousand. I’m feeling so deeply incredibly grateful for you all, for being a warm and loving and truly fantastic community. You’re the best. And I thought you might like some broccoli.
Originally, I put a recipe for roasted broccoli in Bread & Wine. And then along the way I pulled it, because it’s not really a recipe. It’s more like a sentence, really. But then my editor asked me to put it back in because she’d tried it, having run across it in one of the millions of drafts we traded back and forth. She loved it, and she wanted it in the book. We slipped it into the appendix, in a section about very practical, non-spectacular weeknight cooking.
To my great surprise, I’ve been getting more Twitter messages and FB comments and emails from early readers about the broccoli than I ever imagined. And I’m thrilled. It’s a total staple in our house—even our picky boys eat their “trees for big muscles.” I will warn you that the smell is just a little bit diaper-y…not nearly as bad as kale, which makes you want to move away, but a touch stinky. Worth it, entirely.
I’d always steamed broccoli, I think, and never been particularly excited about it, but then one winter I went to stay with my friend Sara in Boston for a writing retreat, and she roasted broccoli with lots of sea salt as an afternoon snack.
She told me it would taste like french fries. I was skeptical, understandably. And then she was right — absolutely delicious french-fry-ish bites of broccoli. Since that trip, broccoli has been a permanent fixture on the grocery list, making once-a-week (at least!) appearances on our dinner plates.
Since that winter in Boston, Sara has lived in Islamabad, Santa Barbara, and now Botswana, and I haven’t seen her since the summer, but every time I roast broccoli–which is a lot–I think of my friend Sara. I love how food transports us that way.
Earlier this year, my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law asked me to teach them a few new recipes. They were looking for simple weeknight dinners for their families. We made white chicken chili, pasta with bolognese, goat cheese scrambled eggs, roasted broccoli, and breakfast cookies.
The broccoli, obviously, is the least exciting item on that list, but after the eggs and before the cookies, I insisted we do the broccoli.
My sister-in-law Amy had been skeptical, just as I had been, but when she tasted it, she said, “This? This is a broccoli game-changer!” That phrase has made its way into lots of our conversations since then, and the broccoli has made its way to several of their tables.
Preheat your oven to 425. Cut up one crown of broccoli into bite-size pieces, then toss it with about a tablespoon of olive oil and some sea salt on a cookie sheet. Cook for 12-14 minutes, tossing once, until it starts getting a little browned and crackly in a good way.
Love, love, love, S