Broccolini are a cross between regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli - it is known for its long, sweet stem that is topped with a small floret. Nutritionally, it contains Vitamins A, C and K as well as Calcium and Iron.
The inspiration of the dish I've made comes from one of my favourite Italian lunch spots here in Melbourne, the Enoteca Sileno. One of the side dishes we always seem to order are sautéed broccolini topped with buttery, garlic and chilli infused breadcrumbs.
I'm leaving the chilli out of this as I just don't have any at the moment but feel free to add it. The broccolini are steamed for a few minutes to just slightly soften the stem - try to choose broccolini with similar sized stems so they will take the same amount of time.
Thinly sliced garlic is very slowly warmed in a mix of olive oil and butter and just as the garlic starts to colour, roughly ripped pieces of bread are added - it's sautéed until the bread crisps having absorbed the garlic infusion. The steamed broccolini are then seared in a really hot pan, a wok is best, until they just begin to colour and shimmer - it's then served with some of the breadcrumbs tossed through and the rest scattered over the top.
1 bunch broccolini
2 garlic cloves, sliced finely
2 slices bread, crusts removed, torn into small pieces
salt and pepper
Steam the broccolini:
Trim the broccolini to remove any dry ends and then stem for just a couple of minutes or until they have just started to soften.
Make the breadcrumbs:
Place a little olive oil and a good knob of butter into a pan - I used a wok as it will also be used to sauté the broccolini. Add the sliced garlic and place over a very low heat to allow the butter to slowly melt and for the garlic to release its flavour.
When the garlic is just starting to colour, sprinkle in the pieces of bread, increase the heat slightly and begin to vigorously toss the breadcrumbs through the infusion. Once it has been absorbed, keep tossing as you want the crumbs to colour and crisp. Once they are evenly coloured, remove them from the pan and place them on paper towels to absorb any excess oil/butter.
Complete the dish:
Turn the heat up high, return the wok to the stove, drizzle in just a drop of oil and when hot add the broccolini along with a grinding of salt and white pepper. Toss carefully as you don't want to damage the heads but ensure they are constantly moved so they don't burn. As soon as you see some colour on the stems, they are ready. Sprinkle in a handful of breadcrumbs, toss once more and then place on a serving dish.
Finish off with a scattering of the remaining breadcrumbs and serve at once.