Loaded with chopped garlic and minced Preserved Lemon or lemon zest, Garlicky Lemon Broccoli is a side veggie that is not only super healthy for you but totally delish to boot.
Favorite Veggie Side
I am not going to lie. Literally, I could eat this 4-5 times a week because it is that good. Virtually, it goes with everything so it is my family’s go-to veggie side. Truthfully, knowing the health benefits of broccoli is not my main motivation for preparing this several nights a week. Recognizing that broccoli reduces inflammation, protects the heart, improves blood sugar spikes, and boosts your immunity does not improve its taste. Appreciating the fact that this superfood is loaded with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium is not the main reason I always make sure and have a plentiful supply of broccoli in my refrigerator. No, it is because this recipe is so dang good, that even Mr. Wonderful has learned to master garlicky lemon broccoli.
I went out for the evening, leaving specific instructions to reheat the spaghetti for dinner and make sure and prepare some broccoli so the kids get their veggies. Why don’t dads seem to concern themselves with such things? Anyway, rabbit trail. Mr. Wonderful informed me upon arriving home late that evening that he had prepared the BEST BROCCOLI EVER! He began to tell me that the real secret to this recipe was to char the broccoli a bit. Now, sister, you and I know full well that that is code for, “Oops I burned the broccoli but I am going to pull off that I meant to do that so that I can still hold the title of Mr. Wonderful.”
Actually, to my surprise, because he left a small (talking very small) sample for me to try when I got home, I was able to put my suspicions to the test. Surprisingly, I was like, “Honey! Wow. This is the best broccoli ever. I will have to make a little note to char, not burn, the broccoli next time.”
His chest swelled a bit. Moms are usually more concerned with keeping veggies as raw as possible to get in all the vitamins, but I have to say, Mr. Wonderful was onto something. Now, he struts around the house boasting that it was his broccoli that scored the most oohs and aahs from the family. It might be going to his head a bit. But hey, Sir-Boast-A-lot is welcome to prepare the broccoli anytime in my book.
Preparing the Garlicky Lemon Broccoli
To start, wash and cut up your broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Include the stalk, which is the sweetest part of the broccoli. Just make sure to cut away its rough exterior. Heat a heavy bottom skillet on medium to medium-high heat and add a tiny amount of olive oil. When it is nice and hot, add in the broccoli and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. For those of you who like exact measurements, I know you can do this. There are no measurements here. It is all to your taste.
Stir often to prevent burning for about the next 7 minutes. You do want it to get a little charred. The goal is to cook the broccoli so that it does not go limp or burn, but rather still maintains its integrity and crispness.
Once you get a little charring, add a heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic* (about 5-8 gloves) and either the zest of one lemon or 1/4 of a Preserved Lemon, minced. Keep in mind, my garlic is in olive oil so if you are not using garlic in olive oil, add an additional tablespoon of olive oil. Additionally, after you incorporate the garlic and lemon, add 1-2 T of water to prevent burning and stir continuously. Garlic burns quickly so make sure and keep stirring. Add more water as needed.
*Just a tip, but I buy a large bag of peeled garlic from Costco and chop it in my food processor. I fill a quart-sized jar with the chopped garlic and then pour olive oil until just below the top allowing it time to seep down to the bottom, topping it off until it is full. It stores nicely in the refrigerator for about 2 months so long as the oil continues to cover the garlic. Top it off as needed. I place any extra peeled garlic from the Costco bag in a freezer bag and store it in the freezer to be added to my bone broth preparation.
ADDING MY FAVORITE PRESERVED LEMON CONDIMENT
Lastly, if you haven’t tried my Preserved Lemons, now is the time to check out my post. Well, actually if you wanted it now, for this recipe, it is a little too late since it has to ferment for 3-4 weeks on your counter. Trust me. You will use Preserved Lemons in everything all year round. Traditionally, preserved lemons are used in Moroccan cooking in tagine recipes, pilafs, stews, roast chicken, dressings, and sauces. It adds a depth of flavor to almost anything where you would use lemon zest.