Yotam Ottolenghi’s broccoli recipes | Food (2024)

Yotam Ottolenghi recipes

Broccoli comes into its own grilled or charred, then paired with punchy flavours: try it fried with pickled stems, in a super-savoury pasta or doused in rich mushroom ketchup

Yotam Ottolenghi


Sat 4 May 2019 09.30 BST

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Unlike its cousins, cauliflower and cabbage, broccoli isn’t at all comfortable being cooked for a long time with mild-mannered ingredients. All my past attempts at being clever and creating the broccoli equivalent of cauliflower cheese, for example, have been fiascos: the creamy sauce cannot hold its own against the dominant vegetable, which goes grey, soggy and miserable-looking. Instead, go for high-impact cooking (grilling, charring, frying), and pair broccoli with something punchy, formidable and umami-rich, such as soy sauce, anchovy, mushrooms and infused oils and vinegars. All can match the wild spirit of broccoli, and help show it off in all its glory.

Fried broccoli florets and pickled stems (pictured above)

The fried broccoli florets, tossed in sweetened soy, may remind you of certain Chinese dishes. Here, I’ve combined them with quick-pickled broccoli stems, so their richness is balanced by light acidity. Double this quantity if you want to serve this as a vegan main course with some sticky rice alongside.

Prep 10 min
Salting 1 hr
Cook 25 min
Serves 4 as a side

700g broccoli (ie, 2 heads), cut into bite-sized florets and 2 stems
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ red chilli, thinly sliced
35ml light soy sauce
2 tsp caster sugar
500ml sunflower oil
5g basil leaves, roughly torn
⅓ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed in a mortar

Trim the two broccoli stems so they are roughly rectangular – they don’t need to be perfect. Shave the stems lengthways into thin strips, using a mandoline, ideally. Stacking a few strips on top of each other at a time, cut into fine julienne sticks, then put in a bowl, add half a teaspoon of salt, toss to combine and leave to sit for an hour. Squeeze out some of the salty liquid with your hands, then transfer the salted broccoli to a clean bowl, toss with two tablespoons of the vinegar and the chilli, and leave to pickle while you get on with the rest of the dish.

Put the soy sauce, sugar and final tablespoon of vinegar in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer for two minutes, then take off the heat – the sauce will thicken as it cools.

Put the sunflower oil in medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once it’s very hot, fry the broccoli florets a handful at a time until softened and golden in places, about 45 seconds a batch (and six batches in all). Make sure the oil comes back up to temperature before adding each new batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried broccoli to a tray lined with absorbent paper, then move to a large bowl and toss in the soy sauce mixture.

To serve, spread half the pickled broccoli on a large, round plate and arrange the fried broccoli on top. Top with the remaining pickle, basil and cumin, and serve.

Orecchiette with broccoli and rocket

This is a take on a classic Puglian dish, which is traditionally made with broccoli rabe (or cime di rapa). The idea is that the pasta and broccoli cook together, with the broccoli eventually slightly melding into the sauce. Omit the anchovies and use vegetarian parmesan to make this vegetarian.

Prep 20 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

100ml olive oil
6 garlic cloves, peeled, 5 finely sliced and 1 crushed
2 salted anchovies, roughly chopped
2 heads broccoli, broken into 2cm florets (save the stalks for another use), 500g net weight
1 lemon, zest finely grated, to get 2 tsp, then juiced, to get 1 tbsp
Salt and black pepper
500ml vegetable stock
100ml white wine
30g unsalted butter
250g dried orecchiette
30g parmesan, finely grated
20g basil leaves, finely chopped
20g parsley, finely chopped
25g rocket, finely chopped
½ tsp aleppo chilli (or ¼ tsp flaked chilli)

Heat 70ml of the oil in a large saute pan for which you have a lid on a medium flame, then gently fry the sliced garlic for about five minutes, stirring often, until golden and fragrant. Add the anchovies, broccoli, half the lemon zest, half a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper, and cook, stirring often, for four minutes. Add the stock, wine, butter and 300ml water, bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes more, or until the broccoli begins to soften, then stir in the pasta, half the parmesan and a teaspoon of salt. Turn down the heat to medium, cover the pan and leave to cook for 12-15 minutes, until the pasta is al dente and the broccoli is soft and breaking down into the sauce.

In a small bowl, combine the herbs, rocket, crushed garlic and the last teaspoon of lemon zest, then stir into the pasta. Scatter over the remaining 15g parmesan, drizzle the remaining two tablespoons of oil on top, and finish with the lemon juice and aleppo chilli.

Purple sprouting broccoli with mushroom ketchup

This mushroom ketchup is irresistible and is lovely spread on toast for breakfast, so by all means double the quantities and keep the excess in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to a week.

Prep 15 min
Soak 20 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4 as a side

600g purple sprouting broccoli
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
Flaked sea salt and black pepper

For the ketchup
20g dried porcini, rehydrated in 400ml hot water for 20 minutes
30g caster sugar
3 tbsp light soy sauce
200g shiitake mushrooms, stems removed (use them for stocks) and caps roughly chopped
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil

For the nori topping
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 tsp nori sprinkle (or dried nori sheets, blitzed in a spice grinder)
1½ tbsp crisp onions (store-bought), roughly crumbled
20g salted peanuts, finely chopped
1 tsp aleppo chilli

Heat the oven to 260C (240C fan)/gas 9+. While it’s heating up, drain the porcini, reserving their soaking liquid, then roughly chop.

Put the sugar in a medium saucepan on a medium heat and leave to cook, resisting the urge to stir, for about 12 minutes, or until it is a light caramel colour. Carefully, add the soy sauce and three tablespoons of the reserved porcini liquid, and stir to combine; it will bubble and sizzle vigorously (don’t worry if it seizes up a little; it will soon melt back down). Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the shiitakes and cook for four minutes, or until they have released their liquid and are well coated in the caramel. Add the porcini and 250ml of their soaking liquid, bring to a boil and cook for eight minutes, or until reduced by half. Transfer to a food processor and blitz for about a minute, until quite smooth. With the motor still running, add the vinegar, oil, half a teaspoon of flaked salt and a good grind of pepper, and blitz for two minutes, until completely smooth, then set aside at room temperature.

In a bowl, toss the broccoli, garlic, oil, a teaspoon of flaked salt and a good grind of pepper. Transfer to an oven tray lined with baking paper and roast for eight minutes, or until cooked through and lightly charred.

While the broccoli is in the oven, make the nori topping by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl with half a teaspoon of flaked salt.

To serve, divide the ketchup between four plates, top with the broccoli and finish with a spoonful of the nori mixture, serving any extra alongside.


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