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What Is Broccolini?
Broccolini, also known as “baby broccoli,” is a delicate hybrid developed by a seed company in Japan between conventional broccoli and gai lan, a Chinese broccoli varietal. While regular broccoli has thick stalks and tightly packed crowns, broccolini feature slimmer, sweeter stalks, with looser florets, a few soft leaves, and bright yellow flowers.
When combined with dandelion greens and parsley leaves, broccolini flowers add a bright pop of color and herbal heat to a wild garden salad, but that’s just the tip of the proverbial veggie iceberg: broccolini show off their earthy sweetness best when lightly charred and caramelized on the grill or in the oven.
How to Grill Broccolini
Grilling broccolini has some unique challenges when grilling—the crown is delicate and will burn quickly if set over a ripping hot fire for too long. Meanwhile the stalk is more dense and needs a little longer to cook to the proper doneness. You want both the crown and the stalk to have the same level of doneness with an even char on all sides when they come off the grill.
When grilling broccolini over charcoal, you’re dealing with direct, intense heat and more rapid cooking times. If you spread white-hot coals evenly on the bottom of a grill and then throw a piece of broccolini on the grate, the crown and the stalk will be exposed to the same high temperatures simultaneously. By the time the stalk is tender, the crown will be burnt to a crisp.
A better approach is to create different temperature zones by keeping your coals confined to one area of the grill. The heat is concentrated to a small area, which allows the stems to be placed over the fire while leaving the more delicate crowns unscathed. Once the stems are done, flip the broccolini around and quickly char the crowns.
What to Serve With Grilled Broccolini
Grilled broccolini are the ultimate side dish. Easy enough to throw into your everyday routine. they diversify the spread and can be jazzed up with everything from a splash of vinegar to fish sauce and beyond.
- Salsa verde is a versatile, simple sauce traditionally made of parsley, capers, lemon zest, and olive oil that can be served with vegetables like broccolini. It adds lively freshness to almost any simple dish. Learn more about salsa verde, along with an easy salsa verde recipe here.
- Grilled broccolini is easy to cook alongside grilled skirt steak. Find the perfect grilled skirt steak recipe here.
- Broccolini is a great side dish to accompany pork chops. Find some easy pork chop recipes here.
- Grilled broccolini brings depth and texture when featured alongside a grilled or seared fish. Learn how to perfectly sear a swordfish here.
Oven-Grilled Broccolini Recipe
Prep Time5 min
Total Time20 min
Cook Time15 min
Broccolini can be grilled directly on the grates and dressed later if you prefer, or you can incorporate other ingredients like lemon and garlic in a grill pan to catch the juices. Either way, toss broccolini with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl before laying them out so they don’t stick.
- 2 bunches broccolini
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4-5 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 lemon, halved
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Trim bottom ends of broccolini and remove any leaves that look a little worse for wear.
- Place broccolini on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Place the lemon halves cut side down among the broccolini, and evenly distribute the smashed garlic cloves.
- Grill until stems are tender but not floppy (a paring knife should be able to pass through), and the leaves and crowns have gone all frilled and crisp, 10-15 minutes. Serve with the caramelized lemon halves on the side, and a hunk of Parmesan for shaving on top.
If grilling directly on the BBQ: In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, two cloves garlic paste, and season with salt and pepper. Brush over grilled broccolini before serving.
Grilled broccolini will keep for a week in a sealed, airtight container in the refrigerator.
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