Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Flower Power: Roasted Broccoli Hero

In all honesty, I don't really mind the rain.  This year I even became accustomed to running in the rain, because it went on forever.  The only thing I really dislike about the rain is when things get cancelled, because I'm not good with scheduling changes.

But it's really hard to complain about the rain when the result is beautiful wildflowers.  Growing up, the saying was always "April showers bring May flowers" but here in California, the more appropriate saying is "Rainy winters bring Superblooms."

2 years ago we had an especially wet winter and the desert paid us back tenfold.  So I was antsy to see what awaited after this winter which was so much wetter and lasted so much longer.

We weren't disappointed.

A drive out to Anza Borrego yielded fields of flowers, growing right out of the sand.  

Thatbaby commandeered my camera and became our little photojournalist.  Unfortunately, his camera skills need a little work, as most of his pictures either featured his thumb, a very blurry image I could tell you was a flower, or the corner of what I could tell you was a flower.

Thatkid defaulted to his favorite flower pasttime - identifying all the different blooms.  We always buy a flower guide for this very purpose.

I'm always impressed with how much my kids love little fieldtrips like these.  I expect them to be bored, or underwhelmed, but they love going.  They get so excited to see the flowers.  And they petitioned for a picnic in the flowers the whole week leading up to it.   I'm always up for a picnic, so I packed up sandwiches and snacks and we hit the road.

The kids went with pretty classic sandwiches - turkey and pb&j.  I knew they wouldn't be interested in ones filled with broccoli.  That's right, broccoli.  I'm always looking for new and interesting sandwiches, so when I saw this one with rave "trust me" reviews by Alton Brown I decided to give it a try.

It is the weirdest combination of sandwich ingredients you can ask for, but they work SO well together.  Sweet, spicy, soft, crispy, salty - it has just about everything.  And it is ridiculously easy to put together when you're gathering water bottles, sunscreen and other supplies for a trip to the desert.

Roasted Broccoli Hero (From Alton Brown)
1/2 cup bread and butter pickles
1/4 cup brine from the pickles
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp chili sauce (such as Sambal oelek, sriracha, or to keep in green Trader Joe's green dragon sauce works nicely)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 head broccoli, chopped into florets.  Trim the stem and slice into thin rounds.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 french bread rolls, split
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 cup fried onions
2 oz ricotta salata or feta, shaved

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Combine pickles, brine, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl and set aside while you assemble the rest of the sandwich.
  2. Toss broccoli with olive oil and salt and spread on pan.  Roast for 15 minutes, then toss and roast an additional 15 minutes.
  3. While the broccoli cools slightly, turn on the broiler and broil the rolls for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Spread each side of the toasted rolls with mayonnaise.
  5. Divide pickles evenly between the two rolls.  Then top with the roast broccoli.
  6. Sprinkle onions over the broccoli and then the cheese on top.


  1. The flowers are so pretty!!! I've never seen broccoli as the main star in a sandwich - sounds good to me!

  2. This sounds like such a fun time. The flowers are beautiful too — and I love that ThatKid spends his time identifying him! That's so sweet.

    Also, roasted broccoli as a sandwich star? That's so unique! Will have to try it.