Broccoli With Anchovies & Garlicky Breadcrumbs

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November is right around the corner and like everyone else, I am beginning to plan my holiday menus. I love to have all my family together and to have everyone in the kitchen cooking together. I am always the one that is chosen to plan the menu and make out the grocery list, then to delegate the cooking tasks. On some holidays, my menu may be more focused on some of our favorite Italian recipes, while on others (like Thanksgiving) my family has to have their turkey with all the fixings. Whether you are serving turkey, ham, or even a lovely pork roast or leg of lamb, you need a few side dishes to round out the meal. I usually always have a potato dish of some type, and then finish off the main course menu with a couple of vegetable side dishes. Personally, I love Brussels Sprouts, or some type of sautéed greens, although I have a few family members who will only eat the usual vegetables including green beans or broccoli.

We buy broccoli almost weekly through the cooler months, and to keep our meals interesting, I try and find some easy additions or cooking techniques that enhance the flavor of a basic head of broccoli which can be quite boring on its own. For this broccoli dish, I flavored the olive oil I used to sauté the broccoli with anchovies, sliced garlic, and red chili flakes. Once the broccoli was cooked tender crisp, I served it topped with crisp, golden brown garlicky breadcrumbs to add texture and interest. For this recipe, it is best to have rustic, coarse crumbs. The easiest way to make the crumbs is to tear up a slice or two of crusty bread and place in a food processor. Pulse until the crumbs are broke up into small pieces smaller than the size of a pea.

This simple side dish really works well with any meat or seafood, and although it does include anchovies, their flavor is very subtle, and it is a side dish the whole family will enjoy. I’ve made this dish often throughout the years, and have also used broccoli rabe, or even cauiliflower in place of the broccoli.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2013

Broccoli With Anchovies & Garlicky Breadcrumbs

Ingredients:

  • 5 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
  • 2 Anchovies, Finely Chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Thinly Sliced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  • 1 Pound Broccoli, Trimmed and cut into Florets
  • 1/3 Cup Water

Topping:

  • 1 Cup Homemade Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat, then add the anchovies, garlic, and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the water, broccoli, salt and pepper to taste, then cover and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid and cook another 2 to 3 minutes until tender crisp when pierced with a sharp knife.
  4. In a skillet,heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, then add the crumbs, garlic, salt and pepper.
  5. Cook stirring often to prevent burning until the crumbs are crisp and golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  6. Transfer the broccoli to a serving bowl, and allow to cool to room temperature, then spoon the crumbs on top.