Well, today was certainly something. I don't know what it is, but in the last couple of weeks, everything seems to be zooming forward at full speed, leaving me hanging on tight trying mightily to keep up. There are so many exciting things happening, both personally and professionally, that I've found myself leaping out of bed every morning, wide-eyed and anticipatory. It's been the best feeling.
That said, I am now sitting at my desk gazing blearily at my laptop after ending a hectic day with four straight hours worth of meetings, faced with a mountain of work and hours to go before I sleep. Eh, you take the good with the bad, no? In the midst of all the craziness today, I did manage to sneak away for half an hour to whip up this broccoli dish for lunch. It's quick, completely different from anything else you've tasted, and both very, very good for you, and very, very bad at the same time. (Probably more bad, but hey, you gotta live a little.)
I got the recipe from this month's Saveur; apparently, they serve it up at Park Avenue Winter to rave reviews from diners. It's easy to see why. The silky cheese sauce lightly coats the broccoli, while the crumbled Cheetos on top add a satisfying crunch that makes it oddly fun to eat. And it's got a little kick to it (due to the sprinkling of red chile flakes) that reminded me a bit of pimento cheese. Heaven. Make it for dinner after an especially busy day and eat it in front of the television watching Mean Girls. Guaranteed cure-all. xo
Broccoli with Cheetos
From Saveur, Issue #135
2 cups heavy cream3 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. minced shallots
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups grated aged Gouda
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
1 1/4 lbs. (about 2 large heads) broccoli, cut into small florets, stems cut crosswise into 1/4″ slices3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
2 cups original Cheetos, crushed by hand (I used the organic kind from Whole Foods)
Make the cheese sauce: Heat cream, 2 tbsp. garlic, shallots, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in cheeses until melted, and season with salt. Set a fine strainer over a small saucepan and strain sauce, discarding solids. Set aside and keep warm.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add broccoli and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain broccoli, transfer to a bowl of ice water, and let chill. Drain and transfer to paper towels to dry; set aside. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining garlic and chile flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add broccoli and cook, stirring often, until just subtly browned, about 6 minutes.
To serve, spoon cheese sauce evenly among 6 warm serving bowls or small plates. Top sauce with broccoli and a generous sprinkling of Cheetos. Serve immediately.