An unexpected flavorbomb of a side dish, this charred broccoli with a zesty relish is perfect for basically every occasion. You’ll need just 5 ingredients and less than 20 minutes.
Ooh, friends, I am so excited to share this one with you. I just know you’re gonna love it as much as I do.
This charred broccoli (warm salad?) did not start out as a “blog recipe” – i.e. a concept developed specifically with the intention of publishing. No. It appeared rather unexpectedly in my life, on a regular weeknight when I just wanted to include a veggie side with our basic-a$$ pasta-with-jarred-sauce dinner.
I grabbed a head of broccoli from the fridge and – not wanting to deal with preheating the oven – decided to cook it in a cast iron skillet like I’d seen Carolina Gelen do. To add color and balance the smoky flavor, I wanted to add some sort of sauce/topping and pulled out whatever called my name from the fridge: a jarred roasted red pepper, lemon, and parsley, plus a garlic clove. I ate the resulting side dish with such voracity that it pretty much became my main course. It’s been a staple since.
Pro Tips for the Perfect Cast Iron Skillet Charred Broccoli
What makes this broccoli so special are the savory, near-burnt dark brown edges. They create a smoky, char-grilled flavor that’s completely irresistible and balanced perfectly by the bright and zesty pepper relish. For perfect browning…
- Use a cast iron skillet.* Cast iron retains heat well and won’t cool down when you place cold items (in this case, broccoli) inside; that means it’s great for creating a delicious crust. Also, oil won’t burn into cast iron and potentially ruin its surface, which can happen with other types of pans at high heat. These skillets are super affordable, non-toxic, and last forever.
- Get it really hot. Use medium-high/high heat.
- Cook it in a single layer. Every piece of broccoli has to make direct contact with the pan. Do not pile the pieces on top of each other; cook them in batches instead.
- Weigh the broccoli down. Place a heavy skillet or pot directly on the broccoli while it cooks. It will press it down (like a panini, basically) and ensure that as much broccoli surface as possible makes direct contact with the pan.
- Don’t flip it more than once. The secret here is prolonged contact between the broccoli and the skillet. Do not move/shuffle/flip the broccoli until it is brown and ready to be turned.
- *(If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use any other pan, although your broccoli may take a few minutes longer to cook and not have the same smoky flavor.)
Stovetop Charred Broccoli vs. Roasted
While you can char broccoli at a high temperature in the oven, the stovetop method is better, in my opinion. The oven relies on circular, indirect heat that envelops food; this cooks food evenly, but can dry it out. Skillet cooking uses direct heat, meaning the broccoli browns on the outside while remaining snappy and juicy on the inside.
How to Make Charred Broccoli
Cook the Broccoli: Slice the broccoli into flat 1/2-inch-thick pieces; feel free to include most of the stems. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat and add a splash of cooking oil. Arrange the broccoli in a single layer and place another skillet/pot directly on top to weigh it down. Cook until dark brown on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip with tongs and cook the other side. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with salt.
Make the Relish Topping: In a small bowl, combine the roasted red pepper, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, a pinch of salt, and lots of coarsely ground black pepper.
Serve the Broccoli: Scatter the relish on the broccoli and serve.
More vegetable magic…
- Carrot Fritters with Lemon Tahini
- Charred Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- King Oyster Mushroom “Scallops”
- Raw Broccoli Salad
Let me know if you try this recipe! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag @thenewbaguette on Instagram with your creation.
The Full RecipePrint
An unexpected flavorbomb of a side dish, this charred broccoli is perfect for basically every occasion.
- 1 pound broccoli (about 1 large crown)
- About 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley* (see note below)
- 1 jarred roasted red pepper, roughly chopped*
- 1 small garlic clove, grated, crushed, or finely minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cut the broccoli into flat 1/2-inch-thick pieces; you can cut them into small florets or slice through the whole head to make large broccoli “steaks”.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet* (see note below) over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and arrange half of the broccoli in a single layer. Place a heavy pot/skillet directly on the broccoli to weigh it down. Cook until it’s dark brown, 2 to 3 minutes (do not shuffle/flip the broccoli until it’s ready). Remove the pot, flip the broccoli with tongs, return the pot, and brown the other side for about 2 minutes more.
- Transfer charred broccoli to a serving platter and sprinkle with salt. Cook the second batch the same way, adding more oil to the skillet if needed.
- While the broccoli’s cooking, stir together all the other ingredients and the remaining tablespoon of oil in a small bowl.
- Scatter the relish over the hot broccoli and serve.
- Instead of parsley, you can use cilantro and/or basil.
- If you don’t like jarred bell peppers, sub with oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes or banana peppers.
- If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, use any other pan, although your broccoli may take a few minutes longer to cook and not have the same smoky flavor.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 110
- Fat: 7.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 8.9 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 3.5 g