I'm really enjoying my new cookbook and, after a load of chips at trivia on Tuesday, I decided that Wednesday was a good night to get my salad on again. This broccoli-based salad had a few advantages: it looked simple to make, it had a good mix of veggies and protein, and it seemed like it would be goddamn delicious.
It lived up to all three promises, although the preparation was a bit more involved than I initially imagined. It would work a lot better if you cooked the broccoli on a bbq as the recipe suggests, as cranking our non-stick frying pan up to charring heat levels left me a bit on edge. And that made it hard to remember to check up on the toasting almond flakes. Luckily, I just about got things right - the broccoli could probably have charred for a bit longer to get more of the smokiness that the recipe promises. Regardless, the combination of crispy almond flakes, fried capers and big hits of lemon and chilli, plus loads of mint and parsley really added some oomph to the base of broccoli, spinach and chickpeas.
The parmesan isn't essential, so this is an easy veganisable dish, and one that we'll definitely come back to again.
Char-grilled broccoli with chickpeas, almonds, lemon & chilli
(slightly adapted from a recipe in Hetty McKinnon's Community)
1kg broccoli (3 heads), cut into florets
6 tablespoons olive oil
100g capers, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups baby spinach leaves
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup mint leaves, chopped
80g parmesan, shaved
100g flaked almonds, toasted
salt and pepper
Toss the broccoli florets in half the olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat a frying pan (or a bbq if you're doing it properly) until it's super hot and throw in the broccoli. Cook for 6-8 minutes, turning regularly, until the broccoli florets have charred up a bit.
Put the other half of the oil in a small saucepan with the capers, garlic and chilli flakes. Heat it up until the garlic just begins to change colour (you really don't want to burn it!) and then kill the heat, and pour the oil/garlic/caper/chilli mix over the broccoli.
Stir in the chickpeas, spinach leaves, lemon zest and some more salt and pepper and toss well.
Serve, topped with lemon juice, mint, parsley, parmesan and almonds.