Broccoli is one of those vegetables that most people will eat. It happens to be one of my favorites because it is not only loaded with vitamin C, but it is so versatile. Broccoli, which is often steamed on the stove top, can be transformed into a delicious dish by using other cooking methods like roasting, braising, sauteing and even microwaving.
The trick to preparing the best broccoli is to not overcook it. Mushy broccoli is the worst. Broccoli has a high water content and cooks rapidly and it also quickly absorbs the flavors of light sauces, vinegar and spices that are added during the cooking process.
In this recipe, Broccoli with Pine Nuts & Dates, the sauce is made on the stove top, while you roast the broccoli in the oven. The flavors of roasted broccoli with a slight bite of vinegar with the sweet dates and crunchy nuts is spectacular. You can prepare this simple dish in minutes and serve it with a great piece of roasted meat or fish or enjoy it just by itself. This broccoli dish makes a great side dish for the holidays and you can double the quantity for a crowd.
3 cups broccoli florets
12 fresh dates, any variety
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup white vinegar, I used white balsamic
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
(Serves 6 as a Side Dish)
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. On a sheet pan, toss the broccoli with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread it out evenly in a single layer. Sprinkle the broccoli with salt and pepper.
2. Roast the broccoli in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Be careful not to overcook, no mushy broccoli!
3. While the broccoli is cooking, remove the seed from each date and coarsely chop them.
4. In a saute pan over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped dates and pine nuts to the pan and saute until the nuts are golden brown, about 3 minutes.
5. Add the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of water to the pan and stir to combine. Continue cooking on medium heat for 2 minutes or until the liquid has slightly evaporated.
6. Remove the broccoli from the oven and place in a serving bowl. Then, pour the pine nut mixture over the top of the broccoli.
7. Sprinkle the parsley on top of the broccoli and a pinch of salt and pepper.
8. Serve the broccoli immediately with your favorite protein. Enjoy!