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I’m starting to feel rushed now that summer’s days are numbered. I never told you about my favorite summer cocktails! We haven’t even talked yet about whether to drench tomatoes in brown butter! We’ve hardly grilled together at all, except for a lonely piece of fish and those eggplants. Tune in next summer, friends, because some of those may have to wait.
But this broccoli can’t wait. Besides, broccoli is a vegetable that will come along right into fall with us. And once you taste this grilled broccoli, you’ll be firing up the grill every chance you get, even after summer’s gone.The magic here is both taste and texture. The smoky depth of flavor and the high notes of freshly-squeezed lemon. The tender stems and and the crisp, nearly-charred florets. The anchovy vinaigrette below is a gorgeous finishing touch, but olive oil, salt, and lemon alone are plenty to make this dish the surprise star of any meal, at any time of year.
Grilled Broccoli: First off, buy more broccoli than you think you’ll want because it will be so darn tasty (and it shrinks a bit on the grill). If your broccoli is in large, tight heads, quarter the heads (leaving the florets attached to the stems) and peel the stems. If your broccoli is looser and leggier, simply divide it into long florets and peel any woody parts of the stem. Now you have to decide whether to steam the broccoli before grilling it. If my broccoli pieces are large, I steam them to ensure that they’ll cook through on the grill, but if they’re smaller pieces, I don’t steam them. If you choose to steam your broccoli first, give it about five minutes in the pot, just until it turns bright green. Toss the broccoli, steamed or not, with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Grill broccoli over high heat, turning occasionally, until the florets are crisp and the stems are browned in spots. Remove to a serving plate and dress with either (a) a lemony anchovy dressing* or (b) olive oil, a generous amount of lemon juice, and more salt.
*I love this anchovy dressing, adapted from Food and Wine: Drain a 2-oz. can of oil-packed anchovies (or use 12 fillets from a larger jar) and combine in a blender with 1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice and 1 tsp. minced rosemary. Blend until smooth. Drizzle in 1/2 c. olive oil with blender running, then season to taste with salt and pepper. You will have plenty of leftover dressing; grill more broccoli tomorrow or use the dressing up in a great version of a Salade Nicoise.