I don’t know about anyone else, but when I was a fat child/teenager, here’s how I would have told you how to make broccoli:
Step 1: Start a pot of boiling water.
Step 2: Cut up some broccoli and throw it in said pot of water.
Step 3: Cook for 20ish min. until soft, or until it has a grayish Voldemort skin quality to it.
Step 4: Eat it. With (pleasedon’tjudgemychildhood) mayonnaise.
Seriously, Step 4 always happened. But I think that’s the only way you can eat mushy gray broccoli.
Once I moved out on my own, the rare occasion that there was broccoli meant steaming it. Which is better than the boiling, but still not that much of a wow factor. and it kind of doesn’t taste awesome. It kind of tastes like steamed broccoli.
Whilst watching Barefoot Contessa one day I noticed she was roasting her broccoli. When it came out it was all crispy and slightly browned on some parts and she said it was the best way to eat broccoli.
So I made some the next night.
All my roommates questioned why the hell I was “baking” my broccoli. I honestly had no answer, except Ina told me to. They wouldn’t understand.
When it came out of the oven 12 minutes later I immediately picked up a piece, probably with my hands, and scarfed it down. Then I ate another piece. And several more. Before I knew it I had almost eaten the entire pan. We’re talking a full head of broccoli that would have probably taken a half jar of mayonnaise to eat if it was boiled.
You’re probably wondering, “why did he do this?” Well it partakes a sort of magical quality. It’s almost al dente, like pasta. It has a slight crispiness where it was touching the pan, and it turns out almost nutty in flavor. I don’t know how it happens. And why I had only just discovered it. And why I had eaten almost the entire pan.
You know in Pretty Woman when Richard Gere takes prostitute Julia Roberts and turns her into a classy not prostitute lady? That’s what roasting does for your vegetables. It turns them into a classy not prostitute.*
What’s that? Vegetables as in more than broccoli? Asparagus was another boiled til gray and stringy and cover in mayo vegetable growing up. But it can turn out just as amazing as that broccoli after just a few minutes in the oven. Mushrooms also work. They sort of have a melted not rubbery quality to them. I’m almost convinced that any vegetable that you’d steam or pan fry or Godforbid boil can be roasted until perfection.
Now, a quick recap of why you should roast your vegetables.
- Boiling makes your vegetables gray and possibly stringy and you lose a ton of nutrients into the water — hence the grayness. Think Voldemort Face.
- Steaming is boring and plain and slightly flavorless unless you pile on salt or butter or the cheese sauce some of those steam in bag methods contain. Think blonde wig prostitute Julia Roberts.
- Roasting makes your vegetables classy like a not prostitute. Think Julia Roberts post Richard Gere when she’s in those amazing early 90s shorts by the pool with her friend that’s still a prostitute.
So how does the magic happen?
Preheat your oven to 425.
Chop up your broccoli or cauliflower, or leave your asparagus trimmed. place in single layer, no dogpile business, on a large baking sheet.
Lightly (like 2 T max per baking sheet lightly) oil your veggies with Olive or Canola oil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper,
Optional: sprinkle over some garlic or onion powder or a couple cloves of minced garlic.
Toss to make sure everyone’s coated properly and roast for 12 min, or until veggies are done. 12 seems to be my magic number. If you’re cooking mushrooms, cooking time will probably increase to 15 to 20 min, until softened. Tossing halfway through. Don’t touch the broccoli or other 12 min vegetables. They’re supposed to get a little browned.
*Photoshopped Movie Poster to come.