Roy Finamore's Broccoli Cooked Forever

January 12, 2012


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
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 2 hrs 20 min

Ingredients

  • 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
In This Recipe

Directions

  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.

More Great Recipes:
Condiment/Spread|American|Hot Pepper|Vegetable|Anchovy|Broccoli|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Make Ahead|Slow Cook|Winter|Side

Reviews (33) Questions (1)

33 Reviews

EmilyC July 14, 2017
Just made a delicious discovery when making a version of this. If you stick the broccoli under the broiler for a brief minute or two once it has cooked forever, the oil-plumped florets get dark and crispy, such a nice contrast to its fall-apart softness.
 
Georgia S. October 20, 2016
The key to this recipe is the long slow cooking. Just like with onions, cooking slowly in oil allows more complex flavors to develop than you can get with fast cooking or boiling. If you stop after 20 min you will just have seasoned overcooked broccoli. <br /><br />I used less oil. Anchovies just disintigrate and give rich umami. While it tastes amazing, it falls apart too much, so I will try the oven baking idea. The recipe says to cover the pan while cooking, but that seemed to trap too much steam, so I left the lid off part of the time. Finally, serve over pasta or bread with lean meat to balance the oil - and wine!<br /><br />
 
TeaForMe December 22, 2015
I've made this about once a week since discovering the recipe! As others, I've shortened the cooking time and the quantity of olive oil. I have yet to try it with anchovies -- capers, a mix of olives and some rosemary for me.
 
Abigail O. November 28, 2015
I have had this on my must try list for quite some time and just did. Even at a very, very low heat, my broccoli reached what I determined to be its peak doneness at around 1 hour and 20 minutes. I drained the broccoli very well, as it does absorb quite the good amount of oil then tossed with rigatoni pasta and parmesan cheese. It was absolutely delicious. I think on its own, as a side dish, the texture might be a bit too one note/overwhelming--but in a dish it is amazing. Crusty bread is up next and pizza. Love the recipe!
 
JBF O. November 12, 2015
I just made this with much less oil and in much less time and it was delicious. I followed the recipe but only put about 1/3 cup of olive oil in the pan. I then cooked at the lowest heat for about 20-25 minutes. It was tender but did not completely fall apart. I can't imagine cooking it in 1 cup of oil and for 2 hours.
 
Transcendancing October 15, 2015
I *loved* this! So much broccoli flavour, enhanced by the chilli and garlic and capers (taking another commenter's advice). Also having a gas stove, I used the oven to do my slow cooking component. The result was gloriously soft broccli and flavourful oil - I used it on homemade pizza bases, topped with fresh buffalo mozarella just as it came out of the oven. And wow! What an amazing pizza dinner it was! Some of the best homemade pizza we've had - and we have high standards by now. Worth considering to serve this delicious dish :)
 
Penny L. May 23, 2015
I made this once with broccoli and it was delicious, although a bit mushy. <br /><br />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.
 
beejay45 May 22, 2015
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...
 
Melissa May 21, 2015
Yummy- I slathered it on bread with some Parmesan and hot pepper flakes. It reminds me of Marcella Hazan's smothered cabbage soup. <br />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.
 
Tonya April 7, 2015
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/31248-pasta-with-slow-cooked-cauliflower-anchovies-and-garlic
 
Ashley M. October 11, 2014
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!
 
soojasaurus September 20, 2013
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!
 
Trena H. September 23, 2013
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!
 
cucina D. September 10, 2013
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.) <br /><br />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.
 
Trena H. April 15, 2013
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.
 
TheZBG February 22, 2013
Don't quite get the appeal: the result was mostly tasteless and drowning in olive oil.
 
john May 14, 2015
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.
 
Kelli G. July 17, 2012
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
 
cucina D. September 20, 2013
love your idea here too, Kelli G. thanks for posting as I will need to try this version now.
 
morsch July 8, 2012
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.
 
bexcellent June 21, 2012
Mine came out blackened and crunchy. It was amazing, like the broccoli version of kale chips...but seems very different from what others describe.
 
WIMARIPA March 4, 2012
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.
 
savorthis February 20, 2012
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.