Long-Cooked Broccoli

We’ve made this broccoli several times now, and it makes a wonderful, unusual open-faced sandwich. The olive oil soaks into the bread, and the savory broccoli melds nicely with the cheese and soft-scrambled eggs. Actually, this recipe helped Jeremy come to terms with the idea of French-style scrambled eggs. We haven’t ever grilled the bread or bothered with the lemon, and we’ve used either Feta or Parmesan for the cheese, both with excellent results.

I should also mention that this broccoli is best served over fresh artisan bread. I wait to make it until Jeremy bakes a batch of fresh bread, because supermarket bread just won’t cut it. His pane siciliano and Vienna breads both work beautifully.

I keep meaning to try leftovers from this recipe in a frittata or quiche, but we never seem to have anything left in the pan after dinner. It would also stand in perfectly as a side dish, or a smear for crostini.

Long-Cooked Broccoli

1-2 head broccoli, about 1 3/4 pounds
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 small onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 whole dried chile

Trim and discard the bottom inch end of broccoli stalk. Peel the remaining stalk, and cut it off, leaving about 1 inch of the stalk still intact on the broccoli florets. Slice the remaining stalk into 1/4 inch by 1 inch pieces. Cut the broccoli into 1 inch florets. Set aside.

In a large pot, boil 8 cups of water. Add 1/4 cup of salt. Cook the cut-up broccoli in the boiling water for 2 minutes, or until bright green. Drain the broccoli, and place in a large bowl of ice water to chill. Drain again when chilled, and pat dry with a kitchen towel.

In a large, heavy-duty skillet, combine the broccoli, garlic, onion, olive oil, chile, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Over very low heat, cook the broccoli, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours, until very soft and tender. Taste for seasoning. Arrange on slices of grilled sourdough bread and squeeze with lemon. Top with softly scrambled eggs, and crumbled Feta cheese or slivers of Parmesan.

Source: Adapted from Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book, care of Nosheteria.

Update 2/8/07: I wanted to use up some broccoli, and Jeremy hasn’t been doing much breadbaking, so I ended up getting some fresh sandwich rolls from the grocery store bakery. Made this last night, and while pouring soft scrambled eggs over the broccoli and topping with crumbled feta, Jeremy commented that they reminded him of Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. Strange but true.

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