Cold and spicy – roast broccoli

22 Jan

A few weeks ago as I was making dinner for a get-together with a friend, Nate informed me that we would be having a few more guests than I had originally planned for.  Thankfully, we had some good looking broccoli in the fridge that I quickly prepped and threw into the oven.  Despite taking the shortest amount of time to prepare and being made of the cheapest ingredients, the broccoli stole the show.  Everyone who has eaten this has asked me how to make it; it’s so easy that I can’t help but feel somewhat embarrassed when I give them the directions.  If you make this, you will probably be surprised when you taste it.  In a good way.

roast broccoli on a plate, covered with specks of red chili

The secret to both the ease and the big flavor of this recipe is this pre-made chili garlic sauce.  A bottle of this stuff costs around $3 and you can buy it at pretty much any grocery store that has a mediocre Asian food section.  You can put it on just about anything, but for now I’m sticking to broccoli.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut your broccoli into florets and place in a medium to large bowl.  You can also slice up the stem and add that if you so desire.

Mix a spoonful of chili garlic sauce in a small bowl with high temperature cooking oil (veggie, canola, or peanut).  The sauce by itself has a chunky consistency; you should mix it with enough oil so that it resembles a thick salad dressing.

Pour your chili oil mixture over the broccoli and toss until fairly evenly coated.  Dump the broccoli onto a baking pan and roast in the oven until the edges of the broccoli are brown and crispy, it should take somewhere between 25-35 minutes.

roast broccoli with flecks of red chili

I think that this kind of cooking is really more of an art than a science.  If you like things hot and spicy, use more chili garlic sauce.  Add a little soy sauce if you want.  Have tons of broccoli?  Go for it.  It will shrink in size as it cooks anyway.  Add a little sesame oil when it comes out of the oven.  And a little salt and black pepper never hurt anyone!

It’s taken me a while, but I’m finally becoming comfortable enough in the kitchen that I don’t always have to follow recipe.  I don’t know about you, but I think that cooking becomes so much more interesting when you give yourself the freedom to experiment a little!

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