Charred and crispy broccoli adds spice and crunch to the most overlooked vegetable in the produce aisle.
Everyone knows broccoli is filled with health benefits, but many have bitter memories from childhood of being forced to eat it. With a modern twist, this simple recipe adds salt, heat, and smoky flavor to change your opinion of broccoli.
This crispy broccoli can be eaten as a side dish, tossed in pasta, or on toast with ricotta and honey (my favorite).
Picking the Best Broccoli
Look for green, tightly packed crowns of broccoli without signs of yellowing or flowering. When buying broccoli at the market, you may see broccoli with the hearty greens surrounding the crowns, which is a great find. The greens can be used as a substitute for kale, like in this recipe for stewed white beans with tomatoes and kale.
Here in New Jersey, we are lucky because broccoli is in-season twice each year, bookending the peak market season. First in June and again in October and November. During the rest of the year, most of the broccoli you will find a grocery store comes from California, which produces 90% of the crop.
How to Make Crispy Broccoli in the Oven
You will also notice this recipe has an unconventional method of pre-heating the sheet pans in the oven before adding the ingredients. This works like a pizza stone and allows the bottom of the broccoli to brown faster and cook more evenly than if the florets were placed on a cold pan.
Do I Really Need to Use Two Sheet Pans?
Short answer: yes.
Long answer: Should you choose to have your broccoli forgo their individual sheet pans, the flavor will stay the same, but the texture will be different. With less space to breathe while cooking, the broccoli will steam instead of roast. This means the end result will be soft without the crispy crunch that I like so much about the recipe.
- 2 large heads broccoli cut into florets
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Place 2 sheet pans in the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
- Once hot, remove the sheet pans and drizzle each with 2 tablespoons with olive oil. Shake to spread.
- Divide the broccoli, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt among the two pans and toss to coat.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy, stirring and rotating the pans every 10 minutes.