Genius Recipes

Roy Finamore's Broccoli Cooked Forever

By • January 13, 2012 • 31 Comments

Every week, Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: How to save overcooked broccoli? Keep cooking it.

broccoli cooked forever

- Kristen

Broccoli, cooked forever -- it sounds pretty terrible, doesn't it? You're having a bad cafeteria flashback right now, aren't you? Stay with me.

We've all been groomed to expect not a shade past crisp-tender. Steam it to the point that even one tendril turns yellow, or it starts to emit that creeping sulfurous-funk smell -- and we think we've ruined the whole pot.

And to a degree, we're right. Broccoli overcooked carelessly tastes stale and murky. It brings us back to what now seems a less enlightened time, when people were afraid of their vegetables acting like themselves.

broccoli

But when you push beyond that disappointing just-too-done state (and throw in a whole lot of olive oil bubbling lazily with garlic, anchovy, and hot peppers) you find yourself with a miraculous substance.

For sharing this rather heretical technique, we can all thank FOOD52er cookbookchick, who discovered it in Tasty, the 2007 James Beard Award-winning cookbook by Roy Finamore.

tastyroy finamore

Finamore is an accomplished cookbook editor who in recent years began writing (very good, very funny) cookbooks himself. This recipe is a spinoff of one he learned from Nancy Silverton -- you remember Nancy.

Here's what "forever" really means: You boil your trimmed stems and florets for five minutes, then drain and slip them into their olive oil bath, covered, for two whole hours. Surely some of the vitamins are cooked right out of it, but if you're worried about that, go eat a kale salad instead.

broccoli  broccoli cooked forever  broccoli cooked forever

"The blanching is to send the broccoli on its way to foreverland, softening it just a bit so it starts absorbing the flavors in the oil," Finamore explained in an email. "It also ensures that the broccoli doesn’t fry and get crisp at the beginning, when the oil is at its hottest."

I want to call the result broccoli butter, but it's more appropriately broccoli confit. The florets trap all the oil's richness, and the stems melt away without provocation.

It would be fitting spooned up onto some sturdy bread, blanketing a good ridged pasta, layered onto a pizza, or anointing a sandwich (you better believe it made its way into #amandaskidslunch).

Best of all: No sulfur smell, just the scent of lovely confiting garlic and friends. Broccoli cooked forever is starting to sound downright romantic, isn't it?

broccoli cooked forever

Roy Finamore's Broccoli Cooked Forever

From Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006)

Serves 4 to 6

2 bunches (2 to 2 1/4 pounds) broccoli
1 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 small hot peppers, halved lengthwise
4 anchovy fillets, chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

See a slideshow and the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Want more genius? TryNorthern Spy's Kale Salad(the opposite of Broccoli Cooked Forever).

Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

 

Photos by James Ransom

 

Jump to Comments (31)

Comments (31)

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over 2 years ago maggiesara

Bakeaholic, sounds like a job for (insert dramatic music) The FLAMETAMER. You know, those perforated metal disks you can pick up at the hardware store for about eight bucks. It will do a good job of ratcheting down the heat on your burners.

I haven't made this recipe yet -- though I will -- but I love long-cooked broccoli in olive oil with heaps of onions. My favorite way to use it is an omelette filling, ideally with a few crisp fried croutons thrown in. And if you happen to have a little goat cheese lying around (fresh or aged, both are delicious) and wanted to grate or crumble that into your broc, before folding it into the omelette and topping the filling with a scant handful of your crispies....OH. MY. GOODNESS.

Second-best broccoli dish in the world, s'far as I'm concerned. The first, of course, is the stupidly delicious broccoli sandwich at No. 7 Sub.

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over 2 years ago bakeaholic

I have a finicky stovetop and the burners don't turn down as much as they should for something this low and slow. Any thoughts on how to do this in the oven instead?

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Bakeaholic, I have the same issue with some of my burners. You want it to be at a very low simmer, with bubbles barely, lazily breaking the surface, or else the broccoli will completely fall apart. If your stovetop is making it bubble too vigorously, I'd put it in the oven at 250 F or so and check on it occasionally to make sure it's behaving.

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over 2 years ago kellyrossiter

I was a bit surprised when my husband went nuts over this recipe. We loved it. I had a fair bit leftover, so I added some stock and pureed it and had the most intensely flavoured broccoli soup. Really rich tasting, you would swear it had cream in it, but it didn't. Substituting capers for the anchovies. I was thinking about trying it with miso for a vegetarian version.

Fb

over 2 years ago BlueKaleRoad

After reading Tamar Adler's "An Everlasting Meal" I have looked at well/overcooked veggies in a new light. I love the addition of anchovies and chile pepper. Can't wait to try this one - thanks for sharing!

Jwl_001

over 2 years ago jwlucas

Honestly, I was disappointed. The broccoli pretty much disintegrated and the result looked like lumpy, oily pesto. Tossed leftovers with pasta and lemon juice. Won't be making this again.

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over 2 years ago Cedarglen

Sorry, but No Thanks. If/when I overcook a pan of broccoli, I'll toss it and start again. Why? This semi-dead stuff is simply not worth the cost of the olive oil that I use. I hate to be the crumudgeon here, but this recipe is a waste of otherwise valuable space. And thanks for posting it.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

That was my gut reaction when cookbookchick first told me about it too (I think it's everyone's!) but seriously, this is a don't-knock-it-till-you've-tried-it situation.

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over 2 years ago molly_stevens

Genius, indeed! I love this recipe. One of many recipes I make again and again from Roy's wonderful book "Tasty".

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Thanks so much, Molly! Would love to know the others you return to.

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over 2 years ago Dr.Insomnia

What a fortuitous recipe post - I had a very large head of broccoli bought on discount from our farmer's market (slightly frostbitten), and I thought I what better use of it then this recipe. Outstanding! Dried New Mexican red chiles took it up a notch, and I opted to cook it in the dutch oven instead of a skillet, which worked out well.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Fantastic! And great call on the Dutch oven -- you probably didn't have to worry as much about escapees.

Jwl_001

over 2 years ago jwlucas

Made it tonight -- very tasty but it pretty much fell apart. I think it would be good tossed with pasta.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Sauce & spread-like applications are perfect for this.

001tinkerbell

over 2 years ago maradawn

I have been doing this with left-over broccoli for more than 30 years. I always use at a topping for pasta.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Brilliant point about leftovers -- and I always steam way too much for 1 sensible meal.

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over 2 years ago Lismi

I'm almost ashamed to admit this - but I love overcooked broccoli. Glad to see I can make something 'socially acceptable' and delicious for all, with it, in lieu of being looked at with shock, surprise and wrinkled noses as I happily consume olive green stalks that keel over,

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Lismi, you were just ahead of the curve!

Zester_003

over 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

I made something similar a week ago using broccoli rabe (I like the bitterness in the leaves). Indeed, this is how it's cooked in Italy where they really hammer it and then serve it at room temperature.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Thanks pierino -- I've been wanting to try with rabe. Now it's a sure thing.

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over 2 years ago vvvanessa

My extended family in Catalonia makes a dish of green beans and potatoes that I call "Veggies Cooked to Death" in my recipe notes. They usually make it in a pressure cooker, and the first time I was served it, I thought there was no way that it would be palatable. But it was delicious, and it's now one of my favorite ways to prepare them (though I don't use the pressure cooker). It's prepared even more simply dressed with just good olive oil and salt. I'm now inspired to add broccoli to the mix!

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Yum. When Amanda worked in France, they did something similar with green beans cooked in a wok until they were black.

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over 2 years ago Darlin G

Panfusine, I often substitute capers for anchovies when cooking for vegetarians. Gives the same nice, salty bite without the fish!

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over 2 years ago JayKayTee

Thank you Darlin G! I was just thinking that maybe I could substitute some seaweed for the anchovies. But capers sound great, or as sdebrango suggests - just leave the little buggers out.

Miglore

over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

Great suggestions on the anchovy question -- thanks everyone!

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

Capers sound perfect! thanks Darlin G.

Zester_003

over 2 years ago pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

Please spare me from anchovy wimps. Most phobes think they hate them (if they've tasted them at all) because all they've ever experienced have been what I refer to as "pizza anchovies", usually in tins from Morocco and rancid even before they are packed. Good anchovies will melt into a sauce and deliver a subtle "bottom" flavor. When I use them my guests rave about the sauce until I tell them what's in it. What's the foundation for Worchester Sauce? Guess.

3-bizcard

over 2 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love broccoli like this, great recipe!!@panfusine I do it without the anchovy all the time its mind blowingly delicious.

Twittah

over 2 years ago Brianne Du Clos

You had me at broccoli confit.

Anita_date

over 2 years ago Anitalectric

Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.

Me too!

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over 2 years ago Panfusine

WOW!! my kids LOVE broccoli, they'd scarf this down. thanks!
can I omit the anchovy to make it vegetarian?