© Patricia Niven

What to do with broccoli? In the Ottolenghi delis, they blanch it so it’s crisp and bright green, then grill it on a hot iron griddle. A simple dressing is made by frying chilli and garlic in olive oil till golden brown and fragrant. That is then tossed through the charred florets with some sea salt. Four ingredients, one very simple treatment, but it is hard to describe how good this dish is.

That’s the great thing about broccoli — it needs so little to deliver so much. With its delicate but distinct flavour and hearty, almost meaty bite, the vegetable is a real kitchen hero, and a favourite choice for dinner at home. We often have it with pasta and a bit of blue cheese or with mushrooms and soy sauce over rice.

Sometimes, though, we indulge in this recipe. Again, it requires very few ingredients and almost no work, but the result makes for an achingly good meal: the goat’s cheese and yoghurt will give the rich filling a light tang; a perfect foil for the savoury, slightly sulphurous flavour of the broccoli.

Have it warm from the oven with some cool, crisp leaves on the side. You won’t need much else.

Broccoli and goat’s cheese bake

© Patricia Niven

To make in an 8in casserole dish, enough for a light lunch for four

2small heads of broccoli (about 250g), broken into florets
100ggoat’s cheese
200gfull-fat yoghurt
100gdouble cream
2 tbsself-raising flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Lightly butter the casserole dish and heat the oven to 170C fan assist.
  2. Bring a large pot of water with plenty of salt — we use a teaspoon for every litre of water — to a rapid boil and add the broccoli florets. Boil for five to six minutes until the stem parts are completely soft (Check this with the tip of a sharp knife — it should just slide in easily.) Drain the water and pop the broccoli into the buttered casserole. Break the goat’s cheese into chunks and dot those all around the broccoli.
  3. While the broccoli is cooking, mix the rest of the ingredients together until they are combined well. Pour the mix over the broccoli and goat’s cheese so they are covered.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, rotate and bake for another 15 minutes until the top starts to become golden and the egg mix is just set. Remove from the oven and rest for five minutes before serving.


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