Roasted Broccoli with Anchovies and Black Garlic

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I guess I know that a once obscure food item has gone mainstream when I can find it at my corner grocery store, right in the produce aisle. I’m talking about black garlic, a onetime rare delicacy that I am hoping will continue its trend to easy access (In addition to our corner store, I also found it at Trader Joe’s and I’m sure it’s available at Whole Foods). Black garlic is regular garlic that has been aged in a hot environment (often referred to as “fermentation,” though the term is under dispute) over several weeks until it turns coal black. Each clove is soft and slightly sticky, almost jelly-like, with a taste that’s sweet with tones of tarragon and molasses, but still clinging to its mellow garlic flavor. It’s delicious, versatile (it stays good for a long time), and incredibly addictive.

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A few weeks ago I was putting together dinner for us and I decided to come up with a new dressing for roasted broccoli, instead of the usual lemon zest, parmesan, and olive oil that I use. I had some leftover anchovies packed in oil and a head of half-used black garlic and I thought, salty and sweet, all I need is some fat and some acid to make the perfect dressing. So, I experimented a little and ended up with this recipe. It makes for an extremely satisfying side dish, one that would probably overwhelm any main dish you pair it with, so choose something simple, like grilled chicken or tuna steaks (as we did in the photo below).

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Roasted Broccoli with Anchovies and Black Garlic

Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

12 oz (350 g) of fresh broccoli florets (from three broccoli stems)
1½ tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
4-5 anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, drained and chopped into small pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
4-5 cloves black garlic, sliced into thin slices
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven at 425º F. In a large bowl, toss broccoli, 1½ tablespoon olive oil, and freshly ground pepper (do not add salt to the broccoli). Spread on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until the broccoli starts to turn dark brown at the edges.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and whisk with a fork until combined. As soon as the broccoli is finished roasting, place it in a heatproof bowl, add the dressing and toss well. Serve immediately.

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