In Food52 Any Night Grilling, Paula Disbrowe’s recipes are simple enough to fire up the grill every night—not just for big backyard cookouts.
Like roasting, a grill enhances the vegetable’s natural sweetness and creates salty, crunchy browned bits that add an entirely different layer of appeal. When charred by the heat of a grill, brassicas like broccoli—particularly big, meaty stalks—offer a satisfying range of flavors and textures that warrant top billing. I prefer to grill large spears of broccoli because they’re easier to wrangle and fun to eat with a knife and fork, but you can use broccolini or large florets of Romanesco broccoli instead. After they’re branded with an initial char, the spears are transferred to a cast-iron skillet, covered with a blanket of grated Parmesan (or another aged cheese) and finished in a closed grill. The ambient heat melts the cheese and creates a crispy crust reminiscent of frico, lacy Parmesan crackers. Salsa Verde, Pickled Mustard Seeds, or Sumac Yogurt Sauce would be delicious additions to the plate.
- Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire, or heat a gas grill to high. Carefully wipe the preheated grates with a lightly oiled paper towel. Using a grill brush, scrape the grill grates clean, then carefully wipe with a lightly oiled towel again. Preheat a cast-iron skillet for 10 minutes before cooking.
- While the grill heats, use a paring knife to trim the bottom inch or two from the stems and peel the stems. Slice the broccoli heads into long spears (the florets should be attached to a long portion of stem). Place any florets that break loose in a mixing bowl. Drizzle the spears with olive oil and season with salt, black pepper, and chile.
- Grill the broccoli over direct heat until evenly charred, 4 to 6 minutes per side, moving to indirect heat as needed to prevent the stalks from burning. Grill any small broccoli florets that break loose in the preheated cast-iron skillet, tossing often, until browned and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the spears to the cast-iron skillet and place on the grill grate over direct heat. Sprinkle with the cheese, close the grill, and cook until the cheese is melted and the broccoli is crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon wedges.
Reprinted with permission from Food52 Any Night Grilling: 60 Ways to Fire Up Dinner (and More) by Paula Disbrowe, copyright © 2018. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.