Roasted Broccoli with Anchovies and Black Garlic


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.


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).


Roasted Broccoli with Anchovies and Black Garlic

Makes 2-3 servings


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


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.

Braised Endives

I’ve been visiting my family this week so I haven’t cooked at all. I’ve been eating my mom’s food, which is what primed me through childhood for a food-obsessed life. When I come to visit, she makes some of my favorites, like koupepia (grape leaves stuffed with meat and rice) and ttava (a meat stew with tomatoes, onions, and cumin, baked in a clay pot).

I’ve also been eating some of the sweets I remember fondly from my childhood. Just this morning, my sister, my mom and I went downtown for a coffee and we shared a big slice of shamali, a semolina-based cake that is flavored with mastique and soaked in a sugar syrup. It was cold and refreshing on a hot, sunny day and we ate it quickly, washing it down with frappés, the ubiquitous iced coffee drinks made with instant coffee.


Now that I’ve teased you with the descriptions of all of those delectable temptations, you’re probably expecting a recipe for something along those lines. I’m afraid I’ll disappoint you. The recipe I’m sharing today may not feature syrup-soaked cakes or cumin-scented stews, but I promise you that you’ll love it anyway.


There are a lot of people who are not big fans of endives. They can be bitter or bland at times. This is a very simple and quick way to turn then into something pretty extraordinary. A quick sear in hot oil caramelizes their surface and is followed by a relatively fast braise in stock and a little vinegar. The process is transformative. The resulting endives are sweet and tangy, with maybe hints of bitterness but not enough to cause displeasure to the palate. By leaving the core intact, the endive halves stay together but still cook soft enough to cut through them easily. They make a great side dish and a great way to use that fancy vinegar you got as a gift that one time, many as part of a gift basket, and never knew what to do with it.


Braised Endives

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large endives (or 3 small ones)
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons of your favorite vinegar (red wine, sherry, balsamic, cider, or any fruit vinegar)
salt and pepper

Cut the endives in two lengthwise, leaving the core intact. Sprinkle the cut sides with salt and pepper.

In large saute pan, add olive oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Place the endives, cut side down, in the pan. Cook without stirring or moving them for about 4 minutes, until their surface has caramelized and turned dark golden brown. Turn endives on round side and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Turn endives again on cut side and add stock (be careful, the stock will steam). Immediately reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Cook covered for about 7 minutes. Uncover and add vinegar. Cover and cook for another 3 minutes.

Uncover the pan and turn the endives to coat them in sauce. Return them to cut side down. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the sauce has reduced and slightly thickened.

Serve immediately with additional salt and pepper on top, to taste.

Roasted Vegetables

Why do people insist on boiling vegetables? Is it because they think it’s easier than cooking them any other way? Or is it because they can’t use their oven due to the shoes they keep in there (you’d be amazed the things people store in their unused ovens in New York apartments)? Why do we accept bland, boiled vegetables when there is a simple and easy way to make them delicious?


Nothings makes a vegetable better than roasting it at high temperature. Whatever it is, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, asparagus, you name it. It will soften but its edges with crisp up and caramelize. It will become something you and your kids want to have more of, not something they have to negotiate over not eating it.


It couldn’t be simpler. There’s no recipe here. Just high heat and a little olive oil.

Take the vegetable. Cut in roughly equally sized pieces and put in a large bowl. Add  a good amount of olive oil, some salt, some pepper. Toss with your hands until every piece is coated with oil. Spread on a baking sheet (don’t crowd the veggies because they’ll steam; use two sheets if you have too much) and cook in 425° F oven, tossing once or twice, until brown in spots and nicely roasted. Serve alone or with your favorite dressing (like thai chili vinaigrette or lime garlic vinaigrette). Alternatively, mash the vegetable (like roasted butternut squash) or blend it with some vegetable stock if you want soup (like roasted asparagus).

See? Super simple.

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