super simple broccoli – the perfect antidote to over-indulging

raw brocoli on wooden chopping board broccoli bowl and frying pan

So it’s the silly season. That time of year when we are all eating and drinking way more than usual. And we still have Christmas and New Years feasting on the horizon.

This week I made a discovery that I think you should at least bookmark for the beginning of January when it’s time to think about detoxing. But between you and me, you might find this recipe comes in handy before then. It sure has been a life saver for me.

You see this week I was lucky enough to eat at the worlds number one restaurant, elBulli. An big food experience in itself. I think I ate my normal daily food intake in the chocolate course alone, and that was after about 30 other courses. Serious indulgence. But the crazy thing was that the very next day, for lunch even, I dined at the number 5 restaurant in the world, el celler de can roca. That’s 6 Michelin stars in less than 24 hours. Yes that’s a lot of rich food.

And while I enjoyed both meals immensely, the first thing I thought of when I got back to the beautiful city of Barcelona, had digested for a while and could actually start thinking about food again, was a big bowl of broccoli. Simple broccoli. Minimalist broccoli. Scorched in bits and still crunchy in others. Green and good for you and ready in minutes.

bowl of broccoli


super simple broccoli

serves 1 as a meal or 2-3 as a side dish

Inspired by Heston Blumenthal via my nutritionist friend Kathryn at Limes & Lycopene and the lovely Luisa at The Wednesday Chef.

This is broccoli at it’s best. Crunchy and fresh in some spots, caramelised and complex in others. It seems like so much more than, well, just broccoli.

The first time I made this was with beautiful fresh broccoli I got from a farmer lady who had set up a stall outside the Santa Caterina markets. All she was selling was broccoli and cauliflower and the long Catalan onions whose name escapes me. Man was that some good broccoli.

To be fair I’ve also made it with broccoli from the normal market and it was still bloody delicious. Not to mention healthy feeling.

If you’re vegan or just not that into butter, feel free to skip the butter and maybe drizzle over just a little of your very best extra virgin olive oil at the end.

You might like to consider serving with a few toasted pinenuts or a softly poached egg – but it is seriously delicious all on it’s own.

It would also make a lovely vegetable accompaniment to the sweet smelling fish-baked-in-a-bag I posted about recently.

1 head broccoli
2T olive oil
1 knob butter
lemon juice, to serve

Preheat a large fying pan on the hottest heat.

Chop the broccoli into even sized mini-trees and then slice the stems into rounds about 5mm (1/4in) thick.

Add oil to pan and when it starts to smoke add the broccoli and cover with a lid or some foil or an oven tray – it’s critical to seal it so the broccoli fries from the bottom but steams at the top.

After 2 minutes, remove the lid, stir and add the butter. Return lid and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Test a piece of broccoli – if it’s tender enough for you remove from the heat. If not cover and keep cooking for another few minutes.

Season and serve hot with a gentle squeeze of lemon.

frying pan of broccoli

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Elsewhere:

5 ingredients. 5 mintues. 5 Holiday Appetizers at Zen Family Habits.

This girl’s in love – a perfect evening at elBulli over at eat|shop|drink.

To see the complete list of prizes for the Menu for Hope – check out tomato. You have until 25th December to get your donations in.

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