Broccoli Melts

Makes 8 small-medium toasts.

Note: If you like anchovies, they meld well with the garlic and pepper flakes. Broccolini keeps its color better than does broccoli, but either tastes delicious. From “Smitten Kitchen Every Day,” by Deb Perelman.

• 1 lb. broccolini or regular broccoli (see Note)

• Coarse salt, to taste

• 2 tbsp. olive oil

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• A few pinches of red pepper flakes

• Finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

• 1/2 c. finely grated aged Pecorino Romano

• 8 slices bread of your choice (white country loaf used for testing)

• 8 thin slices totally unfancy deli provolone


To prep the broccoli: If you’re using broccolini, cut it into 2-inch segments. If you’re using regular broccoli, peel the stems with a vegetable peeler first, so that they cook evenly, and cut the rest into large chunks.

Pour about a 1-inch puddle of salted water into a large sauté pan and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli, cover with a lid and steam for 2 minutes. Drain broccoli well, and pat it dry on paper towels, wringing out as much extra liquid as possible. Chop it into small (roughly 1/2-inch) bits.

Wipe sauté pan dry, and place over medium heat. Add olive oil, and heat for full minute. Add garlic and pepper flakes, and cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic is just beginning to turn golden. Add broccoli and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more; season with salt. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and add lemon zest and juice, Pecorino and more salt and pepper flakes to taste.

To make the toasts: Heat broiler. Arrange slices of bread on tray, and lightly toast on both sides, about 1 minute each. Scoop broccoli mixture onto each slice of bread, lay a slice of provolone over it, and run it under the broiler until cheese has melted and begun to blister, anywhere from 1 to 4 minutes, depending on robustness of your oven. Eat. Repeat. Don’t forget to share, or at least hide the evidence if you decide not to do so.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 200

Fat 10 g

Sodium 470 mg

Carbohydrates 19 g

Saturated fat 4 g

Total sugars 3 g

Protein 10 g

Cholesterol 15 mg

Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 starch, 1 high-fat protein,