Authors: A Veggie Venture
This recipe for cooking broccoli in a skillet comes from Cook's Illustrated. And lest you think that "pan-fried" means frying the broccoli in lots of fat, think again. This recipe uses just a single tablespoon of fat for a whole pound of broccoli! If it were me, I would call the recipe "heat-fried" broccoli because the skillet is brought to a hot-hot-hot temperature.
~more recently updated recipes~
ORIGINAL POST Bye bye 2006. Hello 2007. Bye bye Christmas cookies. Hello ... broccoli. But if you too are coming off a sugary, buttery holiday high, this delicious pan-fried broccoli will make the trip back to real-life food really easy. I'm willing to bet it's one we'll all make again and again. I know I will.
I call the recipe "perfect" pan-fried broccoli because it is slightly adapted from the "test til it's perfect" folks at Cook's Illustrated. I keep old issues nearby because they're packed with recipes and tips that build technique and confidence. I really do recommend a subscription, for both new and experienced cooks.
TIME THIS CAREFULLY
It's best eaten hot-hot straight out of the pan – and the heat doesn't hold, at least under foil as I tried.
It takes 20 minutes from start to finish and there's only a few minutes hands-free. After you've made it once though, it'll go much more quickly and you'll never need to refer to the "recipe" again.
The browned caramelized parts are delicious. This means that a non-stick skillet isn't desirable since it can't get hot enough. I used a well-seasoned cast iron skillet but even then, next time I'll notch up the heat a bit to create more brown parts.
The cutting technique is important – not hard but a little different so allow time to figure it out.
2013 UPDATE Turns out, this is about the only way I cook broccoli! I do use a cast iron skillet so that it can get really-really hot and often let the stems, especially, darken even more than pictured. Once the broccoli is prepped, it takes just minutes to make.
"I made this recipe for dinner guests this past weekend. It was a hit!" ~Anonymous
"This broccoli is amazing, thanks for the recipe!" ~ Joanna
PERFECT PAN-FRIED BROCCOLI
Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound broccoli, florets and stems, trimmed (see instructions)
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Sprinkle of ground black pepper
Pan: Heat oil over medium high in a large skillet (it will need a cover later) until thinking about beginning to smoke. It's hot enough when a few sprinkles of water flicked from your fingers sizzle.
Meanwhile, trim & start the stalks: Slice off the rough end of the stalk. Cut the 'trees' off the 'trunk' but put aside for a moment. Peel the stalk with a carrot peeler, then slice cross-wise 1/4 inch thick, on the diagonal to create more surface area. Add stalks to the hot skillet, flat sides down in a single layer and let cook, without stirring for 2 minutes. While the stalks cook, trim the florets into pieces 1-1/2 inches long (usually you can just cut a floret into quarters, cutting through its branch). Add florets to skillet, toss well to combine, cook without stirring for 1 - 2 minutes until bottoms just begin to brown.
Stir together water, salt and pepper in a small bowl til salt dissolves. Add to skillet, cover and cook until broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Uncover and let continue to cook until liquid evaporates, stems are tender and florets are tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
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