Sunday, October 7, 2012

Indian-Style Broccoli with Spiced Yogurt

For some reason I have been talking about broccoli all weekend.  Alex finds it totally mystifying when I get so fixated on vegetables but I can't help it.  Apparently he never craves vegetables.  All I can think about right now is broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.  Don't get me wrong - I am happy to eat other things along the way, but I need some veggies in my life ASAP.  Luckily, Sunday is farmers' market day.  I also wanted delicata squash, but they didn't have any so I ended up getting a nice spaghetti squash along with my broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and fresh bread.  I also thought about getting green tomatoes, but Alex shot me down.  I admit it - sometimes I need to be reined in a little.  We already had more produce than we can easily eat in a week.  Anyway, since I have been babbling about broccoli all weekend I decided that the first order of business would be to make some broccoli for lunch.

It is pretty easy to sum up my thoughts on this dish.  The flavors are fantastic - I thought the spiced yogurt worked beautifully with the broccoli.  And the slight gritty-ness of the coarsely ground spices added some nice texture and little bursts of flavor.  We were both a little worried at first that the spices should have been more finely ground, but I actually really enjoyed biting into the occasional toasted cumin seed or fennel seed.  My one complaint/modification would be to the cooking method - instead of blanching and then pan-roasting the broccoli in the future I would just roast it in the oven.  There is no point in boiling something and getting it kind of soft and soggy before trying to sear it up and crisp it around the edges.  It doesn't make sense.  So in the future I would totally toss the broccoli florets with a little evoo and s&p and throw it in the oven at 425 degrees F for roughly 25 minutes - until the broccoli is crisp-tender and starting to brown around the edges.  And then I would drizzle it with the sauce.  I think that would be a better (and easier) variation on the dish.  As an added benefit there would be one less pan/pot to wash!

Recipe after the jump!

Indian-Style Broccoli with Spiced Yogurt
Available at Serious Eats

1 head broccoli, stems removed and florets halved
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
5 cardamom pods, seeds removed (about 40-50 seeds) and pods discarded
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the broccoli for about 4 minutes. When done, drain in a colander. Set aside.

Pour the cumin, fennel, and cardamom seeds into a skillet and toast over medium heat for a couple minutes until aromatic. Transfer to a mortar and smash them up with a pestle. A grinder would work, too. Mix together spices, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the yogurt. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the olive oil in pan over medium high heat. Dump in the drained broccoli and cook until slightly charred, about two minutes.

Plate the broccoli and pour the sauce over top.

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