I know broccoli isn’t usually the most exciting of vegetables. I know it can be a bit bland and boring. Time to rethink that. With this treatment it transforms into a shining star.
Seriously, we can’t get enough of it. The Washer Up, my toughest critic, has claimed it his favourite thing. To quote “This is the best thing you’ve ever made”. You can’t argue with that can you?
My best friend Tara bought me the Ottolenghi cookbook for my birthday. I am steadily working my way through it and every recipe that I have tried has been a definite winner. It’s all about the flavour and colour which is the kind of food I love. It has a definite Middle Eastern theme, but not solely. There are recipes from all over the world.
What I noticed, while flicking through, was that a lot of the food is cooked on a griddle pan. It adds to the flavour and appearance of a dish, giving a certain smokiness and the attractive black stripes that make such a difference to the overall impression.
I didn’t own griddle pan. I do now. Get ready for chargrilled everything.
It is chargrilling the broccoli and then drenching it in a garlic & chilli infused olive oil that makes this dish so special. You can serve it on its own, as a side dish with anything, or make it the star on top of some sweet soy rice noodles. Either way it’s delicious. You need to try this.
Chargrilled Broccoli & Beans with Garlic, Chilli & Sweet Soy Rice Noodles
serves 2 -3, vegan, gluten-free. Adapted from Ottolenghi The Cookbook
- 1 large head broccoli
- a handful of french beans
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 75 ml olive oil
- 3 or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 mild red chillies, thinly sliced (or 1 hot red chilli)
- sea salt & black pepper
- 250 gr fat (XL) rice noodles (or any noodles)
- 2 tbsp kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) or use soy sauce plus 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce (vegetarian)
- 1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
- a handful of fresh coriander, chopped
- a handful of cashew nuts or flaked almonds, toasted
Separate the broccoli into florets with small stems still attached. Trim off the stalk ends of the beans. Cook the broccoli in boiling salted water for exactly 2 minutes (no more). Then quickly transfer it, with a slotted spoon, to a large bowl of iced water, to stop the cooking. Now do the same with the beans.
Drain the broccoli & beans in a colander and then spread them out on a clean tea towel and leave to dry completely.
Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet, drain and rinse under the cold tap to stop them sticking together. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the dried veg with 3 tbsp olive oil and season generously with salt & black pepper. Place a ridged griddle pan over a high heat and leave it for 5 minutes to heat up. Grill the veg in batches so it’s not too crowded. Leave them for a minute on one side then turn them over so they get nice char marks on all sides. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and continue to griddle the rest.
Meanwhile put the 75 ml olive oil in a small saucepan with the sliced garlic & chillies. Cook them over a medium heat until the garlic just starts to turn golden brown. Don’t let it burn. Remove from the heat and pour the hot oil over the bowl of hot broccoli & beans and toss together well. Check seasoning.
Heat up a wok, or large frying pan, over a medium high heat, add in the cooked noodles, kecap manis (or soy sauce & honey), sesame oil and oyster sauce. Heat through the noodles and then throw in the veg. Toss everything together well and serve in deep bowls.
Squeeze over some lemon/lime juice and sprinkle with the toasted nuts and chopped coriander.
You are going to love this. Broccoli has never tasted so good, honestly. If you don’t own a grill pan go out and buy one now.
It’s just a bit of a bitch to clean….. Apparently.
Things that made me smile today…..