Burning food is bad, right? Wrong — well, sort of. In cooking, there's a very fine line between imparting a pleasant char and burning foods to a crisp. While the latter should be avoided, there's nothing wrong with giving some of your favorite cruciferous greens like broccoli a delicate, char-adjacent burn. Although it might feel wrong, we guarantee that it'll taste oh-so-right.
Regardless of the vegetable at hand, charring amps up complexity. Just beyond the point of browning and on the verge of blackening, this technique can contribute smoky nuances, and give vegetables an ultra-savory undertone. Additionally, the bitterness developed as a result of burning can even balance the sweet and grassy vibrance of greens like broccoli. But burning broccoli makes sense for reasons beyond its flavor advantages.
When (briefly) burning ingredients with a kiss of heat, there's an opportunity for texture to be improved. In the case of sturdy broccoli, the vegetable may soften slightly. However, rather than turn to mush, it'll maintain its bite. Plus, it'll boast the added benefit of crisping up stalks and florets. Lastly — as if you needed another excuse to blister and blacken broccoli — charring can even provide a visually stunning contrast of colors.
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How To Successfully Burn Broccoli
Despite that we're urging you to burn broccoli, the goal isn't to completely blacken the vegetable. Ideally, there should only be a few blistered bits that decorate an otherwise bright green steak, stalk, or floret. Overdo it and you risk a very dry, very acrid, and very ugly-looking final product. That said, to avoid ruining your vegetables, there are several rules to abide by.
Whether you decide to grill or char broccoli in a skillet is up to you. You could even take a mini torch to them, or stick a tray of broccoli under the broiler. The important thing to remember is that while a sturdy vegetable like broccoli may need longer to blacken in comparison to something like a tender tomato, that doesn't mean it requires an abundance of time to get there. Burning broccoli should still take mere minutes, no matter the means of preparation.
To ensure the absolute best-burnt broccoli, it's also wise not to move them around too much. After all, broccoli can only develop a char if it remains in direct contact with the heat source. Likewise, we suggest refraining from tossing the stalks with any oil or butter, before charring. It'll just act as a buffer that can impede proper burning, which is why it's best to season greens post-burn.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.