Monday, March 29, 2010

Broccoli with Roasted Red Peppers, Plus: How to Roast a Pepper

Today on Serious Eats: Orange-Cranberry Muffins. Say goodbye to winter citrus with these super easy, seriously portable healthy breakfast treats.

As a dedicated frugalist and aficionado of tree-like vegetables, I’m forever in search of ways to enliven broccoli. There are fewer cheaper, more nutritious foods in the produce aisle, and honestly, it’s tough to pretend you’re a forest giant with blueberries.

Here's one way to jazz it up:

And you can stir fry it, sure. And broccoli goes pretty well in pasta. But otherwise, if you don’t dig the Cruciferae smothered in cheese or doused in lemon, you’re kinda out of luck.

Enter Broccoli with Roasted Red Peppers. A buttery, sweet twist on a usually staid side dish, the recipe takes about ten minutes if you have jarred roasted red peppers handy. If you don’t, roasting your own pepper will add 20 to 30 minutes to the cooking time, and could be well worth the effort.

To those who've never done it before, the process can be somewhat intimidating. Trust: it’s not so bad. Simply follow these exciting rules:
  • Preheat your broiler.
  • Wash and dry the pepper, taking care to remove any stickers. While delicious raw, roasted stickers possess an unfortunate poison flavor.
  • Place the pepper on a small pan and stick it under the broiler. When the skin becomes blackened, use tongs to turn it over.
  • When the whole pepper becomes blackened, remove it from the oven, place it in a bowl, and cover the bowl with tin foil or plastic wrap. Walk away and do something awesome for a few minutes. Suggested: Settlers of Catan, knitting, cartwheels.
  • Once the pepper is cool enough to handle, peel it, seed it, and use the flesh for your own nefarious purposes.
  • Dance.
By the third and fourth time you roast your own pepper, it’s practically a trip to Disneyworld. (Minus the lines!)

Before we get to the recipe itself, two quick notes on the process: First, I made this at my parents house. (Hi, Ma and Pa!) While they have an excellent pantry and fine selection of produce, they’re not Safeway, and rarely carry fresh herbs. Fortunately, a teaspoon of dried substituted quite nicely. Second, nutrition numbers were provided by All Recipes, and are listed below. Only the price calculations are my own.

Sweet readers, how do you make broccoli less boring? If it involves ranch dressing, open flame, or mangoes, I’m all ears.

If you like this recipe, you’ll surely enjoy:

Broccoli with Roasted Red Peppers
Makes 6 servings, 2/3 cup each.
Adapted from All Recipes/Taste of Home.

5 cups broccoli florets, cut small
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced (or more, if you like)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley OR 1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

NOTE: If roasting your own pepper, please use the instructions in the above post. If using jarred peppers, read on.

1) Steam broccoli, either in your microwave or on your stovetop. For stovetop: Fill a small pot with 1 or 2 inches water. Place a steamer basket in pot. Add broccoli to basket. Cover, leaving a crack. Steam 3 to 6 minutes, until broccoli is crisp-tender (not limp).

2) While that’s happening, melt butter in a medium pan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add peppers, parsley, salt, and pepper. Warm through. Remove from heat.

3) In a medium bowl, combine broccoli and pepper mixture. Stir to coat. Add more salt or pepper if you like. Enjoy!

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price Per Serving
41 calories, 2 g fat, 1 g fiber, $0.34

5 cups broccoli florets, cut small: $1.48 (Broccoli on sale for $0.99/bunch.)
1 clove garlic, minced: $0.04
1 tablespoon butter: $0.08
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced: $0.39
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley OR 1 teaspoon dried parsley: $0.01 (dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt: $0.01
1/8 teaspoon pepper: $0.01
TOTAL: $2.02

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