Why Roasting Broccoli Is Better Than Steaming It

·Food Editor

You can steam broccoli, but it’s best roasted. 

For one, it’s easier. We’ll prove it to you: Let’s talk about the ways you can steam it: 

1. If you steam broccoli in a microwave, you must cut the florets, put a small amount of water in a bowl—just the right amount that the broccoli is not swimming, but enough to keep it moist during cooking—cover it with a microwave-safe lid, and cook, checking for doneness at various intervals. In the end, there may have been too much liquid at the bottom of your bowl, so you’ll have to drain or pat the vegetables dry. And then comes seasoning and dressing them.  

2. If you steam broccoli in a steamer basket, you must cut the broccoli into florets, bring water to a boil, balance the steamer or colander over said boiling water, cover with a lid, and steam, testing doneness as you go. 

3. If you steam it in a sauté pan, you must cut the florets, bring about 1/4 inch of water to a boil, cover, and then steam, testing doneness as you go. 

Now let’s talk about roasting it: You preheat the oven while you’re cutting the florets, you toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and you roast them for 10 minutes. The veggies are sure to be cooked by that point—no checkups required—and cooked in such a way that the florets’ centers are still crunchy, but the edges have browned into salty, almost meaty tidbits.  

We’d gladly eat a bowl of roasted broccoli, cooked just that way, for dinner. But why stop there when you can put it in a grilled cheese. Inspired by No. 7 Sub in New York City, we considered treating broccoli as the main event, stuffing it into the sandwich instead of cold cuts. You should consider it, too. 

Broccoli Sandwiches
by Angela Gaines
Serves 2

1 head broccoli
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices country-style bread
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup shredded Gruyère
½ cup aged cheddar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut florets from head of broccoli, halving the larger ones lengthwise, and arrange on a sheet pan with garlic. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Roast broccoli for 7-10 minutes, or until it begins to brown.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spread one side each of two slices of bread and place them in skillet, buttered sides down. Sprinkle Gruyère on top of one slice and cheddar on the other. Place roasted broccoli on top of cheddar slice.

When the cheese has melted, about 5 minutes, take the Gruyère slice and place atop other slice so the Gruyère meets the broccoli. Using a spatula, press down. Flip sandwich and press down again with spatula. (Both sides of the bread should be nicely toasted.) Repeat with the other bread slices. 

Remove from heat, cut in half, and serve immediately.

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