Lina, my fellow food blogger, is great at issuing cooking challenges – I thoroughly enjoyed the North Indian Curries challenge – and this month I took up her Creative Ingredient challenge…to those of us who responded to the challenge, Lina issued a vegetable for us to cook with.
Yes, I cook vegetables daily, but I thought this might encourage me to cook with a vegetable I don’t often pick..and I was right: Lina gave me broccoli (Lina also gave me cauliflower, but having previously made so many cauliflower dishes – there’s been cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza base, cauliflower wraps, marinades, dips, so many cauliflower creations, all on my recipe index- I decided not to add more to the cauliflower arsenal! It doesn’t need any further assistance from me to get even more expensive!) I rarely choose broccoli, and when I do, I tend to prefer the stems to the tops of the ‘trees’, I think the stems hold more flavour and a better texture. That’s just my view of course :)
So I decided to push myself and play with the curly tree tops, which scream ‘crumb’ to me, and this is what I came up with…a crunchy zesty crumb of broccoli, nuts and spices..
To sprinkle over whatever you fancy, I sprinkled mine over this salad…it added crunch as well as flavour and colour…
So, time for the details…
The florets from a medium sized bunch of broccoli
3-4 small garlic cloves
A handful of roasted unsalted hazelnuts
A handful of roasted unsalted cashews
1/2 tbsp Aleppo (pul biber) red pepper flakes
1 tbsp sumac
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Place the broccoli in a glass bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water and cover with cling film; microwave on high for 6 minutes
Remove the broccoli and place in a colander to drain and cool
Once cooled, cut off the tops and keep the stems for the dip below
Place the curly tops of the broccoli in a food processor with all of the other ingredients
Blend to a crumb, don’t let it go as far as a paste
Then sprinkle over anything you can think of, like I did! Or stir it into some homous..of course! Tasty!!
1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained and washed
Roasted ground cumin
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
Small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
Several tablespoons of cooked quinoa
Starting with the chickpeas, I put the chickpeas in a pan with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and cumin, and brought the liquid to the boil and simmered for on a low heat
I then (after eating several lovely spoonfuls from direct the pan!) left them in the pan overnight to cool and marinate
The next day I mixed the chickpeas with the chopped herbs, tomatoes and quinoa to serve
Whilst I was playing around, I also put this dip together using the broccoli stems..
Steamed and roasted broccoli stems
Several roasted cloves of garlic
Tiny pinch cayenne pepper
I steamed the broccoli stems along with the trees for the broccolata, then roasted them with some peeled garlic cloves and a spray of olive oil
Once they’re nicely roasted, I left them to cool then blended them with some homous I’d already made, a tiny pinch of cayenne and some natural yoghurt
Of course, I did then take things a step further…I decided to bake it at a low temperature and see if I could add some more crunch to it..
I spread the mixture in a thin layer across a baking tray lined with foil and baked for 20-25 minutes at 150c, checking constantly that none of it burnt, then turned the oven off, propped open the door slightly, and left the tray in the oven to dry out further. It worked really well..
It became really crispy and crunchy and zesty…and although it looks like bits are burnt, they really aren’t, the broccoli just coloured more than the rest..
and again, tasty over my leftover salad today…
So, how’s that for something different? Possibly not what you might think of when you look at broccoli?! We know my brain works in mysterious ways….I had great fun playing with it, I hope that Lina and you like the outcome.
I did also do more with the rest of the broccoli that I bought, but I’ll save that for next time, for now I’m heading over to Fiesta Friday with my broccoli crumb and hoping that this week’s co hosts Julie, and Ashley like it