The Easy Way To Get The Crispiest Roasted Broccoli Of Your Life

roasted broccoli on baking tray
roasted broccoli on baking tray - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

While boiling and steaming are both reliable ways to cook broccoli, they don't offer much in terms of texture. When you roast broccoli, on the other hand, it becomes lightly crispy on the outside yet remains tender on the inside, creating a satisfying textural contrast. If you want your broccoli to come out extra crispy, your first instinct might be to keep it in the oven a bit longer, but unfortunately, this can result in charring it instead.

A much more effective approach is to smash your broccoli. Simply let it bake in the oven for a few minutes, then once it starts to soften, use the bottom of a glass or the back of a spoon to press down on it before continuing to roast it. When you do this, the dense, tight florets flatten and develop edges that can easily crisp up. The surface area also increases, exposing more of the broccoli to both the pan and the heat circulating in the oven. As a result, you end up with a much crispier texture than if you were to simply roast the broccoli in its original shape.

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Combat Moisture For The Crispiest Smashed Broccoli

plate filled with roasted broccoli
plate filled with roasted broccoli - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Broccoli is a high-moisture vegetable, and that means when you smash it, you not only increase its surface area, you inevitably force out some of the water contained within its cells. Therefore, to ensure the crispiest possible outcome, it helps to dry off your smashed broccoli with a paper towel before putting it back in the oven, because excess moisture on the surface may cause a steaming effect.

The amount of broccoli you put on your baking sheet can also influence how crispy it gets. If you overcrowd the pan with so much that some of the pieces are overlapping, they won't come out as crispy. The reason this happens is instead of fully evaporating, some of the moisture gets trapped among the broccoli pieces, preventing them from crisping up. To keep trapped moisture to a minimum it also helps to flip the broccoli partway through the cooking process.

How To Get Your Smashed Broccoli Even Crispier

smashed broccoli covered in parmesan
smashed broccoli covered in parmesan - Instagram / bliem_j

Smashing alone can make oven-roasted broccoli ultra crispy, but to take that crispiness to the next level, consider using cornstarch. Broccoli isn't a starchy vegetable, so unlike what happens when you smash potatoes, smashing broccoli does not release any natural starches that could enhance its crispiness. However, adding cornstarch can achieve a similar effect. Just make sure you don't skimp on the oil so the cornstarch can latch on and properly crisp up the veggies.

For a more flavorful option, you can also turn to parmesan cheese. Most smashed broccoli recipes already call for parmesan, but this ingredient adds more than just flavor, it also creates an even crispier texture. Cheese in general is naturally oily, and oil enhances browning, but the main reason parmesan is so effective is that it has a low moisture content. This property is key because it allows the cheese to melt and then form a brown, crunchy layer on the broccoli without adding excess moisture, which can inhibit crispiness. When sprinkled over smashed broccoli and roasted, the parmesan complements the textural effects of the smashing technique.

Read the original article on Daily Meal