Last summer, this spicy green bean recipe opened my eyes to the wonderful world of blistered string beans, reminding me, too, that harnessing the power of a few heavy-hitting ingredients — capers, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes — can pay off big: super-flavorful vegetables in no time.
It also reminded me of maybe the most neglected tool in my kitchen: my broiler!
In the winter, I get in such a routine of roasting sheet pan after sheet pan of vegetables for what seems like forever. But in a fraction of the time, the broiler can do similar work. The flavor of broiled vegetables is not the same as roasted — i.e., they don’t taste caramelized — but broiled vegetables are cooked nonetheless and, in some instances, cooked better.
Take for instance broccoli. What I love about a broiled broccoli spear is that its florets char, while its stems remain vibrant, brilliant green in hue with a nice al dente texture, a feat achieved in 5 to 6 minutes total.
Seasoned merely with olive oil and salt, this broccoli is delicious on its own straight from the broiler, but upon being hit with a sauce, an infusion really, made from both coconut and sesame oil, soy sauce, sesame seeds, scallions, and chili paste (Sambal Oelek or Sriracha), it becomes truly irresistible.
As with the green beans, I could eat this whole platter of broccoli alone, but when I feel like sharing, I’ll tuck them aside this warm tofu with spicy sesame scallion sauce (see below) or this broiled ginger-soy salmon, or I’ll heap them onto a scoop of this Instant Pot brown rice, crack a poached egg over top, and call dinner done.Print
For the sizzle:
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon sambal oelek or Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
For the broccoli:
- 1.25 lbs (roughly) broccoli
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
- kosher salt
- flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for finishing, optional
- Heat the broiler to high for at least 15 minutes. Line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil.
- In a small skillet, place the sesame oil, coconut oil, sambal oelek or Sriracha, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and scallions. Turn the heat to low and let the oils slowly infuse.
- Meanwhile, prepare the broccoli: cut the head into spears; then cut larger spears into half or quarters.
- Toss the broccoli on the prepared sheet pan with the tablespoon of neutral oil and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Taste a small spear of broccoli raw — it should taste nicely seasoned. Transfer pan to broiler and cook 2 minutes. Check. If the broccoli isn’t beginning to char, return it for another minute. Check again. If the spears are charring, remove the pan from the oven, and flip each spear over; then return pan to the broiler for another 2 minutes. Check again. Remove pan from the oven when the broccoli is charred to your liking, about 5-7 minutes total. (Note: When my broiler has preheated sufficiently, my broccoli consistently cooks to my liking in 5 minutes with a flip after 3 minutes. Every oven is different, however, so be vigilant!)
- Transfer broccoli to a serving platter.
- Meanwhile, the oils in the skillet should be gently shimmering and the sesame seeds and scallions should be beginning to frizzle. Turn the heat up to medium or high and keep a close watch. As soon as you see the oil bubbling more rapidly, remove the pan from the burner and pour the oil over the broccoli.
- Gently toss. Taste. Season with sea salt if desired — if your broccoli was nicely seasoned before going under the broiler, you might not need any additional salt. Serve immediately.
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Broiler
- Cuisine: Asian
Keywords: broiled, broccoli, sambal, oelek, sesame, oil, seeds, scallions, soy sauce