Broccoli quite frequently appears as an item on crudité platters but, all too often, it ends up being dry, dull and rather uninteresting. Today’s preparation is not really a crudité, as such, as the broccoli florets are blanched before being dressed. However, it also can’t really be called vinaigrette salad either, for that matter, as the olive oil dressing includes no more than a few drops of lemon juice. Instead, I am calling this little appetizer dish a ‘meze’ as it is somewhat reminiscent of a Greek (or Turkish?) small plate I once encountered. Still, although I will be preparing broccoli florets in olive oil, I also stray a little from the original…
- 1 – 2 cups Broccoli Florets;
- 1 – 2 Cherry Tomatoes;
- 6 tbsp. Olive Oil;
- 1 pinch each of Salt, Pepper and dried Thyme;
- ¾ tsp. Garlic Puree;
- 1/8 tsp. Anchovy Paste;
- ¼ tsp. Lemon Juice.
- Use fresh Thyme if you can, but increase the amount to about 1 tsp. of the chopped leaves.
Blanching the broccoli is essential to the success of this dish. The process not only improves the textural quality, it also preserves and enhances the natural green color of the fresh article. I have explained the general procedure elsewhere but, essentially, you just need to briefly parboil the veggie in question in boiling salted water and then plunge it into cold water to arrest the cooking.
You can blanch the florets alone, if you like, in which case, you just need to leave them in the boiling water for no more than a minute. Today, however, I am blanching the several ‘branches’ of broccoli in one operation (stems and florets together) as I will be doing two separate dishes using florets and then using the broccoli stems elsewhere. As such, I will hold the stems in boiling water for a good minute or two and then submerge the rest of the head for a final minute before removing to ice cold water to cool.
Next, de-seed the tomatoes and cut the flesh into very tiny dice. Mix the garlic puree and anchovy paste together with the salt, pepper and thyme, and then stir these into the oil along with the diced tomato.
Marinate the broccoli florets in the dressing for at least an hour or two. If leaving them for longer, toss them occasionally. When you are ready to serve, give a final toss with the lemon juice and then plate attractively. That’s all…