This is a flavorful side dish which is nice to serve at a dinner party, because you can prepare the broccoli (up to 2 days ahead) and have it ready to toss in a hot pan, with garlic & oil, just before serving. It makes a nice “prepare ahead” dish
- Several bunches of fresh broccoli
- 4-6 cups boiling water
- 1-2 Tbsp. salt
- Iced water
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, zested, then juiced
Prepare the broccoli by washing the stalks and removing the bottom 1-3 inches of each stalk, which is the most fibrous material, leaving at least 2-3 inches of stalk beneath the florets.
Slice each stalk, lengthwise, to make several thinner broccoli spears from each stalk.
Bring a pot of water to boil by covering and placing over high heat. When water reaches a roaring boil, remove the lid and add salt, stirring to incorporate the salt. My friend Aurelia taught me that “the water must taste like the sea,” so make sure you have enough salt in your water accordingly.
Plunge the stalks of broccoli into the boiling water, and cook for 2 minutes ONLY.
Prepare a separate bowl of water with ice cubes, and add a little salt, if desired. Remove the blanched broccoli spears directly to the iced water to set the color, texture, and stop the cooking immediately.
Once chilled, remove the broccoli spears to a paper towel and drain. Store, covered, in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Just before serving, heat a skillet of olive oil over medium heat and sauce the chopped garlic for about 30 seconds. Do not allow the garlic to brown. Add the broccoli spears and lemon zest, salt & pepper, and toss to coat. Add the lemon juice and toss again, then immediately remove to a serving bowl or platter, topping with the garlic sauce, and serve immediately.