Sheet Pan

Roasted Buttermilk-Brined Broccoli With Preserved Lemon

May  1, 2018
4 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

Soak broccoli in buttermilk mixed with the brine from a jar of preserved lemons, and get ready for roasted broccoli like you've never had it before! The acidic buttermilk slightly tenderizes the broccoli (speeding up its roasting time a bit), and the salinity of the preserved lemon seasons it. Together, the buttermilk and preserved lemon pack such a big flavor punch that their characteristic rich, tangy notes come through in the roasted vegetable—not overwhelmingly so, but in a way that enhances broccoli’s own flavor. Think of it as: broccoli as its best self.

Note: If you don't have preserved lemon brine, blend 2 cups of buttermilk with the flesh of one preserved lemon until smooth (remove peel and seeds first). —EmilyC

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Your New Favorite Broccoli Is Charred, Crispy & Buttermilk-Brined. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup preserved lemon brine
  • 3 large crowns of broccoli (about 2 pounds in total), sliced into small florets
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon preserved lemon peel, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
  • 1 small lemon
  1. Mix together buttermilk and preserved lemon brine. Place broccoli in a gallon-sized plastic zipper-lock bag. Pour in the brine. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible and rotating the bag several times to thoroughly coat the broccoli in the brine. (The broccoli won’t be fully submerged.) Lay the bag flat; soak for about 1 hour at room temperature. I like to flip the bag a few times to evenly distribute the brine.
  2. Heat oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
  3. Drain the broccoli in a colander, shaking most of the brine off. Place the broccoli and sliced red onion on the sheet pan, and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and kosher salt and black pepper, to taste. (Taste a piece of the brined broccoli to guide the amount of salt you use.) Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender, crispy, and charred (or less time if you like your broccoli a little crunchy). Note: the brine that clings to the florets will cause the broccoli to steam-roast in the oven, and once it evaporates, the broccoli will start to brown. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, or enough to cover the bottom of the skillet. Add the panko, stirring to evenly coat with the olive oil. Once the panko has started to brown, add minced preserved lemon peel, sumac, and a pinch of salt. Continue to toast until the crumbs are golden brown. Off the heat, stir in the dill.
  5. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the roasted broccoli (to taste) and toss in the sumac crumbs to evenly coat. Transfer to a serving platter or dish. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Julie
  • Miachel Pruett
    Miachel Pruett
  • EmilyC
  • liz knight
    liz knight

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

7 Reviews

Julie June 14, 2020
Would you still be able to make this if you only had fresh lemons?
liz K. May 21, 2018
I love broccoli and preserved lemons, so this recipe really caught my eye. The only change I made was cooking time. I like my broccoli slightly crisp so the idea of cooking for 25-30 minutes seemed too long. I cooked it at a slightly higher heat, 430 degrees for about 7 minutes. I didn't have dill, and didn't add more preserved lemon at the end, there seemed to be plenty of that flavor from the marinade. Loved the crunchy sumac-panko too. I often just sprinkle that on my roasted broccoli. This was a great adventure in flavors!
EmilyC May 21, 2018
Hi Liz: so glad you liked this! I added a note about the cooking time in the instructions (I like mine tender and charred, hence the longer cooking time, but I realize this is a matter of personal taste!). Really glad that you enjoyed the flavors! Thanks for your note!
Miachel P. May 19, 2018
Love this creative recipe. Swapped out buttermilk & lemon for pickle juice. Sounds a little crazy, but it was delicious!
EmilyC May 19, 2018
Not crazy at all—love it!! : )
witloof May 16, 2018
This looks great. I have been very successfully substituting plain kefir for buttermilk when I can't find good quality buttermilk.
EmilyC May 16, 2018
Thanks witloof! Kefir would work so well here!