I always buy broccoli, but I never do anything interesting with it. In the end I usually just steam it and serve it as a side. Well, last night, confronted with a large bunch of broccoli, I felt determined to do something DIFFERENT! And this is what I came up with. I thought of the classic Roman combination of broccoli, red pepper flakes and garlic, and I thought…let’s put that in a croquette. Croquettes can be tricky to make – they can turn out pasty and stodgy in the middle, but I find that adding beer and baking soda really helps. And these turned out crispy and light as can be. (I’ve been cooking with beer a lot lately, haven’t I? It’s so fun to pour it in and watch everything foam up. And it really does make batters light and sweet.) I made these quite large, so they’re almost like steaks, and we ate them with oven roasted french fries and simple tomato sauce.
Here’s Sage Francis’ Broccoli Break.
1 large bunch broccoli, florets only, cut into about 1 inch pieces (Maybe 3 cups? it’s hard to measure broccoli)
1 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup pesto sauce
2 cloves garlic – toasted or roasted (I use the toaster oven!)
1 t. (or to taste) red pepper flakes
1 t. basil
1 t. oregano
3/4 cup beer
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
salt and plenty of pepper
1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Boil the broccoli till it’s soft. Softer than you might serve it by itself, but not a complete mush.
3. Generously oil a baking sheet. Form croquettes on the sheet by putting a dollop of batter on, and then, with the back of a spoon, shaping them any way you like. I made mine quite large and sort of rectangular, just for kicks. you want them to be quite thin, though. Maybe 1/3 inch.
4. Cook at preheated 425 oven for 30 – 40 minutes. After 10 or 15 minutes, very carefully check the bottom to see if it’s brown and crispy. If it is, very carefully flip the croquettes over so the other side can get brown and crispy.
5. serve with a simple tomato sauce or a romesco sauce would be good, too!