Origin date: November 28, 2009

It’s not a secret among my friends that I love my oven. But, I don’t bake well or that often. Strange? Not at all. I love, love, LOVE to roast things. Particularly vegetables. Potatoes, carrots, parsnips, even broccoli. I have already mentioned a certain food blogger called the The Amateur Gourmet and he is definitely worth checking out. He supplied me with a an amazing recipe titled “The Best Broccoli of your life”, of course this perked my attention.

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This recipe was unlike anything I had ever seen done to broccoli before, but it sounded delicious and I had just received a head of broccoli from the the food co-op. It uses lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and parmesan cheese. OH! Already I was in love.

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I love broccoli and I must say that my mom prepares it the best. It’s a bright green color and still has a pleasing crunch as you bite into it. It was never like the over-cooked, slightly brown and limp stuff offered by my school cafeteria. She had a great secret to her broccoli. First of all, SHE ALWAYS USED THE STALK. That’s right folks, waste not want not. We always ate and enjoyed the stalk and its mainly because of her little secret…. Okay, okay I’m getting to it.

Before my mother cooked the broccoli, she prepared it by removing the outer layer of the vegetable. If you look at the cut side of the stalk, you’ll notice that there is a fibrous layer around the outside. My mom would take a paring knife and just peel it right off. She also did this to the larger florets before cooking them. This made the broccoli more tender and cook a bit faster. Perhaps this isn’t so much a secret but I suspect that the fibrous, bark-like layer on the outside of broccoli is one big reason kids won’t touch the stuff. But back to the best broccoli of your life…

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I tossed the prepared florets and prepared, sliced STALKS (again – waste not, want not) with olive oil, sliced garlic, salt and pepper. I roasted the veggies in the oven until the edges began to brown and crisp. After removing them from the oven, I zested a lemon and squeezed the juice of half a lemon over the top. I finished with a generous grating of fresh parmesan cheese over the top.

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To say that it was delicious was an understatement. It was amazing! Roasting the broccoli added a sweet smokiness to the flavor of this already beloved vegetable. The lemon made my mouth water and my hand reach for more. And the cheese! Don’t even get me started on the cheese!

I really loved this recipe that The Amateur Gourmet attributed as an Ina Garten recipe, better known as the Barefoot Contessa. As for it being the Best Broccoli of my life? I humbly must disagree. Although this recipe ranks a close 2nd or perhaps even 3rd (*fully anticipating retorts later*), I’d have to say that my mama’s is still the best. After all, she made it great the first time I ever had it and made me a broccoli fan for life! Can’t argue with that. Here’s that recipe one more time.

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