A Week of Alton Brown Day 1: Cheesy Oven-Roasted Broccoli

If you’ve never heard of Alton Brown, he is star of a cooking television program called Good Eats.  Although it’s gone off the air just a few short years ago, the archive of these brilliant episodes can be found on both Hulu or, interestingly, a wealth of episodes are available on YouTube.  His style is quirky and thorough, tackling single ingredients or recipes in an episode instead of creating an entire meal.  He uses bizarre characters, puppets, and amazingly inventive visual props to give you a true understanding of your food.  I adore him.  His show is like nothing on TV before or since.

As my devotion to Alton grew, I’ve given the books as gifts to many people, and as many people as I have tortured with choruses of “Well, Alton says…” in the kitchen, I’ve converted some fans along the way.  My boyfriend now tunes in regularly for Alton’s podcast and bought us the tickets to his LIVE SHOW, which we’ll be attending on Saturday!

In the front row!  I can’t remember the last time I was so excited to see someone live.  I’ve never met someone I’ve really admired and Alton has had an influence on a huge part of my life.  I’m completely geeking out!

And as nerdy as this is, I decided to celebrate my delight in seeing Alton live with seven days of Alton Brown recipes that changed the way I cook.

To start: Cheesy Oven-Roasted Broccoli. NOM.

This recipe gave me an entirely new appreciation for broccoli – it’s now one of my go-to vegetables.  Although I can’t eat cheese anymore, I still use the rest of recipe and it’s amazing.  But I totally recommend keeping the cheese if you’re not lame like me.
You can find the recipe here.
And a video of this recipe (to create a few more Alton converts) here!

Things to keep in mind:
1. Sometimes I use a cake pan, and sometimes I don’t.  The high sides are nice, but I haven’t found them necessary.
2. I don’t toast the panko bread crumbs ahead of time.  I am sure it adds a depth of flavor, but when this recipe was part of a bigger meal and I was multi-tasking in the kitchen, I almost always burnt them.  I add them in at the same time as the broccoli and it tastes just fine.
3. DON’T JUST USE THE FLORETS.  The stalks can be sliced into little medallions (as you can see in the video) and are just as delicious as the florets – plus less wasteful!  I only toss away the dry, brown, gross-looking end of the stalk.
4. This recipe tastes amazing cold the next day.  A great idea to bring to the office and get an extra serving of veggies into your day.

I hope you enjoy!

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