I cook a lot of broccoli. It’s a vegetable my 2-year-old daughter eats up by the forkful—or handful, I’ll take it—so we’re never without some steamed or roasted florets at the ready. I’m a broccoli fan myself, but it wasn’t until I tried Milk Street’s Charred Broccoli with Coriander Vinaigrette, a recipe in our November-December 2019 magazine issue, that I became as hooked on the vegetable as my daughter is.

I love this recipe so much I made it twice in three days and plan to make it for any guest who comes over for dinner. I am not, as it were, such a great cook. It’s the technique in this recipe that deserves all the credit, and it couldn’t be easier. Indeed, calling it a technique makes it sound much more complicated than it actually is: It’s more like a step. One. Single. Step that takes broccoli from “OK, fine I’ll eat my vegetables” to “I’m never making broccoli another way again.”

The move? Place a baking sheet in the oven as the oven heats up so that the pan is sizzling hot when the broccoli hits the surface. It’s that simple.

Heating the baking sheet as your oven warms—the recipe calls for cranking it up to 500°F—yields crispy, charred florets and blistered stems with an addictive, crunchy texture and sweet, caramelized flavor. Crispy, smoky, sweet and worth writing home about.

To maximize contact with that sizzling baking sheet, it’s also important to resist any urge to stir the broccoli. Leave it be as it roasts. This ensures maximum crispiness.

After the ingenious sizzling sheet pan move, this recipe calls for tossing the broccoli in a coriander and rice wine vinaigrette made with freshly toasted coriander seeds and spiked with fresno or jalapeño chilies that have been stemmed, seeded and chopped. A garnish of cilantro ties it all together.

You could, and should, try this perfect flavor combination. But you also could remember the hot sheet pan tip no matter how you choose to season your broccoli.

It should come as no surprise to me that a no-brainer step that occurs before any cooking begins would make such a major impact. These are the kinds of smart and streamlined tips that the kitchen here at Milk Street specializes in. Still, the magic of so dramatically improving such a basic ingredient, and one I cook a couple times of week, has left me in awe.

It also should come as no surprise that this recipe was inspired by a signature side at Brooks Headley’s Superiority Burger in New York’s east village. Headley’s vegetarian fast food joint is groundbreaking. “This was our first salad,” the chef writes in the “Superiority Burger” cookbook. “It’s on the main menu and never leaves.” And now it’s never leaving my regular rotation, either.

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Chilies and coriander brighten broccoli's nutty, bittersweet notes
Charred Broccoli with Coriander Vinaigrette

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40 minutes

10 minutes active

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