When perfectly prepared, grilled broccoli is smoky, nutty-­sweet and tender-crisp. Achieving perfection, however, isn’t as easy as just tossing your broccoli on the grill. Too often, the high heat chars the florets before the thicker stems fully cook, resulting in burnt tips and tough stalks.

Turns out, the solution is a tool we typically don’t associate with grilling: the microwave.

Plenty of people consider the microwave only good for turning broccoli mushy and watery. But we learned that a brief stint in the microwave actually is key to ensuring great grilled results every time.

That’s because briefly parcooking broccoli before it hits the grill gives the stalks time to tenderize. Once the broccoli is put over the flames, all parts grill to perfection in the same amount of time.

Of course, you also could parcook the broccoli by blanching it on the stovetop. But using the microwave is faster and avoids having to heat up the kitchen during grilling season.

To ease handling on the grill—and so no part of the vegetable is wasted—we cut the broccoli into spears that include large portions of the stem, making it easier to flip with tongs until it’s lightly and pleasantly charred all around.

With our cooking technique nailed, we sought flavor inspiration. We found it in “Berber & Q: On Vegetables” by London chef Josh Katz. He makes a tangy side dish by grilling broccoli coated in olive oil, then tossing it with a citrus-harissa vinaigrette, pickled red onion and golden raisins.

We loved the contrast of spicy, tart and sweet, and we get double the flavor from them by applying some of them twice.

After parcooking, we coat the broccoli with a blend of spicy harissa, lime juice and honey, which caramelizes on the grill. To keep those same flavors tasting fresh, we apply a second dose after the broccoli comes off the heat, punching it up with the brightness of fresh lime and fiery chilies.

Garnishing with pickled shallots, golden raisins and chopped dill or mint provides additional pops of contrasting flavor. Sweet, spicy and tart, this grilled broccoli comes out crisp-­tender, smoky and seasoned throughout. For which, in part, you can thank your microwave.