Beautiful Broccoli Salads for Your Summer Grill Party

Broccoli with Golden Breadcrumbs, Oil-cured Olives, and Orange Zest (CAWCOM) (2)
Summer is a time for grilling and one dilemma the cook faces is what side dishes are to be served. Because grilling usually requires our attention it’s nice to have already prepared side dishes. One of my favorite choices are vegetable salads that can be prepared ahead of time and served at room temperature. Broccoli is a nice summer choice and the only thing you really need to know about cooking broccoli is not to overcook it. Broccoli, and all cruciferous vegetables, must not be overcooked otherwise chemicals in the plant break down and release sulfurous compounds, such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, and interact with the chlorophyll in the plant which causes the broccoli to turn an unappetizing brownish-grey color and to have a very unpleasant smell. This chemical reaction is, in fact, the reason people who say they don’t like broccoli probably don’t like it: I imagine that at a young age they ate improperly cooked broccoli. Broccoli should always be cooked in small amounts of water until it is crisp-tender and retains its bright green color; it should never be cooked until limp.
The first recipe is an appealing Sicilian-style side dish with a great taste from the flavor of the orange zest and black olives. It’s important not to overcook the broccoli even by a minute because you want the taste and the beautiful color contrast of bright kelly green to come through. Oil-cured olives are a crinkly-skinned olive, but use any good quality black olive that isn’t too heavily brined, if you can’t find the oil-cured ones.
Broccoli with Golden Bread Crumbs, Oil-cured Olives, and Orange Zest
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
1 pound broccoli
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 salted anchovy fillets, rinsed
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
15 imported black oil-cured olives, pitted
1 teaspoon orange zest
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling (optional)
1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and blanch the broccoli for 5 minutes. Drain, cool, and break into florets and slice the stems.
2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat with the anchovies and garlic until sizzling. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until the bread crumbs are golden brown, about 4 minutes.
3. Arrange the broccoli on a serving platter and sprinkle the olives about. Sprinkle the bread crumb and anchovy sauce around and then sprinkle the orange zest. Drizzle with olive oil if desired and serve at room temperature.

Broccoli with Oil-cured Olives and Lemon Zest (1)
Broccoli with Oil-cured Olives and Lemon Zest
What a beautiful dish! The brilliant green of broccoli, the pitch black of the olives, and the sunny flecks of lemon zest make for a very appetizing presentation. In this recipe you blanch the broccoli first to keep its brilliant green color.
Yield: Makes 6 servings
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
2 pounds broccoli
1/2 cup black oil-cured olives, pitted or un-pitted
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a rapid boil then cook the broccoli for 5 minutes. Drain and cool under cold water. Set aside to drain and cool completely.
2. In a bowl, mix the garlic with the olive oil. Slice the broccoli and mix it in a large bowl with the olives, chile, lemon zest, olive oil and garlic, salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

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