Sautéed broccoli with garlic and chili


• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 pound broccoli, cut into 1 1/2- to 2-inch-long florets, stems sliced 1/4-inch thick
• Kosher salt and black pepper
• 3 garlic cloves, sliced
• Red-pepper flakes, to taste


1. Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high. Add the broccoli stems, season with salt and pepper, and cook, undisturbed, until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the florets, season generously with salt and pepper, and shake into an even layer. Cook, undisturbed, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and red-pepper flakes and stir until the garlic is fragrant, less than 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium, add 3 tablespoons water, cover, and cook until the broccoli is bright green and fork-tender, 2 to 3 minutes, reducing heat if needed to prevent burning. Season to taste with salt, pepper and red-pepper flakes.

This speedy, two-step recipe yields broccoli — or practically any vegetable — that is perfectly browned and cooked all the way through. After florets and thinly sliced stems are seared, add a little water and cover so the broccoli steams in its own juices until fork-tender. Not only does this bring out the vegetable’s inherent sweetness, but it softens whatever flavorings you add without burning them. This recipe embraces the prickly heat of chile and garlic, but you could also use ground spices, thyme or rosemary, ginger or scallions, capers or olives. Swap the broccoli for sliced carrots or sweet potatoes, cauliflower florets, broccoli rabe, or green beans, adjusting cook time and water as necessary.

From the New York Times