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Broccoli with Soy, Rice Vinegar and Sesame Seeds

Roasting brings out the best in broccoli. The tips of the flowers char lightly while the stems stay nicely crisp. And best of all, roasting turns this strong-flavored vegetable into a mild, sweetly flavored flower stalk. The secret is high heat. For a particularly attractive presentation, serve the broccoli atop strips of roasted red bell pepper (see related tip at left).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. broccoli spears, tough ends trimmed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 1 Tbs. Asian sesame oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. rice vinegar

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 475°F.

Arrange the broccoli spears in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Season lightly with salt and pepper. In a small dish, stir together the peanut and sesame oils and the garlic. Brush the broccoli spears on all sides with the oil mixture.

Roast the broccoli, turning once, until the stems are nearly crisp-tender and the florets are beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the broccoli evenly with the sesame seeds. Continue to roast until the seeds are toasted, the stems are crisp tender and florets are browned, about 5 minutes more.

Remove the pan from the oven and arrange the broccoli on a platter. Drizzle with the soy sauce and vinegar and serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Variation: To prepare broccoli with garlic oil, omit the peanut and sesame oils, sesame seeds, soy sauce and rice vinegar. In a small bowl, stir together 3 Tbs. olive oil and the garlic. Arrange the broccoli on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and brush with the garlic oil. Roast for about 15 minutes. Drizzle 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice over the broccoli and serve.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Roasting, by Rick Rodgers, Melanie Barnard & Bob & Colleen Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2004).