Roy Finamore's Broccoli Cooked Forever

By • January 12, 2012 27 Comments

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Author Notes: When you push broccoli 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 -- essentially broccoli confit. The florets trap all the oil's richness, and the stems melt away.

It would be fitting spooned up onto some sturdy bread, blanketing a good ridge-y pasta, layered onto a pizza, or anointing a sandwich. Finamore says it also works with cauliflower.

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

Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 bunches (2-2 1/4 pounds) broccoli
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 2 small hot peppers, halved lengthwise (Finamore likes small red peppers, but you can substitute green Thai chiles, various dried ones, even a big pinch of red chile flakes)
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. While the water is heating, cut the florets off the broccoli. Peel the stems and cut them into rather thick slices, about 1/3 inch.
  3. When the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli and cover the pot to bring it back to a boil quickly. Blanch the broccoli for five minutes. Drain.
  4. Put olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the hot peppers and anchovies. Cook, giving a stir or two, until the anchovies melt. Add the broccoli, season with salt and pepper, and stir well. Cover the skillet, turn the heat to very low, and cook for two hours. Use a spatula to turn the broccoli over in the skillet a few times, but try not to break it up. It will be very tender when done.
  5. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the broccoli to a serving dish. It is delicious hot or at room temperature.
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Comments (27) Questions (1)

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about 1 month ago Penny Lane

I made this once with broccoli and it was delicious, although a bit mushy.

Has anyone made this recipe using green beans? It seems like the same 'cooked too long' quality that this recipe takes advantage of for broccoli applies to green beans as well. They wouldn't melt in quite the same way but it could form a confit.

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about 1 month ago beejay45

I've got to say I don't get the draw on this, but I suppose not many would adore my oven charred asparagus in olive oil, garlic and sea salt either. ;) Like my broccoli bright green and tender crisp. This just seems like it relies on externals for flavor. Now cauliflower...

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about 1 month ago Melissa

Yummy- I slathered it on bread with some Parmesan and hot pepper flakes. It reminds me of Marcella Hazan's smothered cabbage soup.
Mine started to stick to the pan a bit after about 1/2 hour, so I finished the last 1 1/2 hours in a 225 degree oven.

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3 months ago Tonya

This dish was lovely. I did cook it in the oven, and it came out testing perfectly. Also reminded me of this dish — https://food52.com/recipes...

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9 months ago Ashley Marie

I'm torn on this one but only because I think I didn't salt it enough and served it with something that was too "oily" (feta stuffed chicken breasts). I think ssjasaurus has the right idea with serving it on crusty bread. Perhaps with a salad or a lean steak? Definitely a recipe I'll revisit and experiment with!

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almost 2 years ago soojasaurus

Basically I might have pushed this one two far, letting the broccoli basically fall apart. BUT it was just phenomenally delicious after I'd refrigerated it, letting the olive oil become more like butter and mushing it onto crusty bread, putting it in the oven with some sharp cheddar cheese. It was like the best version of broccoli and cheese, ever!

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almost 2 years ago Trena Heinrich

soojasaurus - I took your advice and added a little grated sharp cheddar on the broccoli. All I can say is I'm thrilled I did. You weren't kidding when you said it was the best broccoli cheddar ever. My husband and I gobbled up 3 lbs. of broccoli in 2 days!

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almost 2 years ago cucina di mammina

This is how my Mammina Loreta and Nonna Assunta cooked broccoli. They would blanch it first then basically braise/saute it on medium low heat with garlic and plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper (the chili flakes were reserved for thos of us who loved the extra heat.)

I tend to cook my broccoli less these days, but my famiglia asks me often to cook the broccoli for dinner ala Nonna Loreta :) Thanks for this lovely reminder that the old style cooks really did know what they were doing.

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about 2 years ago Trena Heinrich

I've made this numerous times this winter as broccoli is plentiful and cheap this time of year. I love this recipe. Broccoli has never tasted so good. I've used this as a "sauce" over roasted new potatoes, pasta, and fresh bread. It has an amazing depth of flavor thanks to the garlic, anchovies, and peppers.

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over 2 years ago TheZBG

Don't quite get the appeal: the result was mostly tasteless and drowning in olive oil.

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about 1 month ago john

ZBG, I thought that you were just the pessimist in the chat room and went ahead and made this recipe, cutting back on the oil slightly. It turned out just like the picture but with slightly smaller puddles of oil. My whole family, who all love broccoli, didn't care for it. I should have stopped after the blanching and served it up. This is the first recipe that has motivated me to comment on, I felt compelled to try to balance out all the raving comments and maybe save someone else two hours of their time.

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almost 3 years ago Kelli G

I made this last night using three smalls heads of broccoli. I subbed capers for the anchovies and put the whole thing in the oven at 100 degrees C (~200 F) for two hours as my gas stove wouldn't go low enough. It turned out perfectly -- the broccoli still held together but melted in your mouth. Will definitely be making again, maybe today, since broccoli is my favorite vegetable. :D

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almost 2 years ago cucina di mammina

love your idea here too, Kelli G. thanks for posting as I will need to try this version now.

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almost 3 years ago morsch

Huh. I just made this, and it came out mushy and mostly tasteless, apart from being slightly spicy. Maybe my broccoli wasn't flavorful enough to start with. But I don't think I'll try again.

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about 3 years ago bexcellent

Mine came out blackened and crunchy. It was amazing, like the broccoli version of kale chips...but seems very different from what others describe.

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over 3 years ago WIMARIPA

The broccoli totally fell apart when I made this. It was delicious though. I used it as a spread for bread in one meal and then turned it into a pasta sauce (kind of like a broccoli pesto) with some parmesan for another meal.

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over 3 years ago savorthis

I finished this in a 225 degree oven for about 2 hours and it was wonderful. I served it with some broiled salmon that ended up a bit overcooked (thanks distracting three year old!) and the broccoli made a nicely unctuous, velvety sauce. I can't wait to try it with homemade pasta, guanciale, roasted cherry tomatoes and crusty bread.

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over 3 years ago RG1

Well, I'd hope this would be great given the oil/vegetable proportions. But seriously, you can lower the oil and still achieve wonderful overcooked vegetables, especially with a high -water-content vegetable. The idea in Indian cooking at least is that you're concentrating the flavor, a necessity especially with our overgrown vegetables. The end result can be close to a spicy pickle ("achar"), which is a good foil for the bland wheat bread that meals go with. Not surprised that it makes a good soup, either.

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over 3 years ago LloJo

I made this tonight. It totally fell apart and I ended up with lots of crumbled soggy broccoli. It was utterly delicious though, I have to say. My cooker tends to destroy things as even the lowest gas just burns so fast. I'd advise anyone thinking of making it to make sure you really do cook it on the lowest possible setting, and use a gas diffuser if you have one (I don't). Very yummy indeed. Will make again. (And my husband liked it too!)

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over 3 years ago YGBSM

it was amazingly delish, but i couldn't get past the mouth feel. i'm glad i made this, but i will never make again, although i might try a much shortened time with brussels sprouts.

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over 3 years ago Lucytron

I made this last night without the anchovies (not to my liking) and it was delicious. Served it with pan-roasted chicken breasts and penne pasta.

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over 3 years ago GiGi26

I think you have just given me a way to get my husband to eat broccoli. Adding anchovies, garlic and hot peppers just might do the trick!!

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over 3 years ago magdance

Although I blanch and shock like everyone else, I learned years ago from Marcella Hazan's books about the pleasures of overcooked vegetables. See her Smothered Broccoli in Red Wine in More Classic Italian Cooking or the brown, wrinkled carrots in Carrots with Parmesan Cheese in The Classic Italian Cook Book. Each cooks for an hour to an hour and a half and tastes great.