chargrilled broccoli with chilli and garlic

May 27, 2011

This is the first recipe I’ve tried from my lovely Ottolenghi cookbook. It was a birthday present from in-laws who know me well and knew I’d been lusting after it. After flipping through it in a sort of from-a-distance way for several weeks, I sat down at the weekend and got a teensy bit overexcited with post-its. I want to make everything. There’s so much flavour in every recipe it’s almost like you’re getting smacked in the face with it. In a good way.

I’ve been told that the cakes are amazing and as you can imagine, I’m rather childishly excited to get to them. But I wanted to try something asap and this recipe is apparently Ottolenghi, the restaurant/cafe’s signature dish.

If you want a simple way to tart up broccoli, this here is for you. It’s not complicated, but it’s good. I went a little heavy on the oil (being too lazy to convert the measurements first) so watch out for that. This dish calls for a delicate hand to get the flavours spot on. This is another reason why I’m a better baker: I like precision and when I’m left to my own devices, I tend to go overboard.

If you’re looking for a colourful and bright dish for this long holiday weekend (in the States) or a picnic take-along (anywhere) this would be a most excellent choice.

Chargrilled Broccoli with Chilli and Garlic
from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook


  • 2 heads of broccoli (approx. 18oz)
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 mild red chillies/jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • coarse sea salt and black pepper
  • toasted almond flakes
  • very thin slices of lemon (with skin) to garnish (optional)


  1. Separate the broccoli into florets and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes – don’t be tempted to cook it any longer! Using a large slotted spoon quickly transfer the broccoli to a bowl full of ice-cold water – you need to stop the cooking at once. Drain and leave to dry completely.
  2. Once the broccoli is dry, toss with 40ml of the olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Place a griddle pan on high heat and leave for 5 minutes until smoking hot. Grill the broccoli in batches on the hot pan, turning to get lovely char marks on all sides. If, like me, you don’t have a griddle pan, use your barbecue!
  3. While the broccoli is cooking, place the remaining oil in a small saucepan together with the garlic and chillies. Cook them over a medium heat until the garlic just begins to turn golden brown. Be careful not to let the garlic and chilli burn – remember they will keep even when off the heat.
  4. Pour the oil, garlic and chilli over the hot broccoli and toss together well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature. You can garnish the broccoli with almonds or lemon just before serving, if you like.
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