Charred Broccoli with Hazelnut Romesco and Lemon is an easy, yet impressive side dish. Serve with your protein of choice for a flavorful, fast dinner.
The first night I made these, my husband and I polished off the whole plate in record timing.
I'm telling you, even the biggest veggie skeptics will swoon over this impressive dish.
We're talking crisp-tender, lightly charred baby broccoli paired with a smoky-sweet red pepper sauce. Toasted hazelnuts add rich, nutty undertones, making the sauce downright addictive.
If you're a fan of my go-to Perfect Sautéed Broccoli recipe, you will also love this one.
The magic lies in the sauté method, which leans on high heat for the perfect sear. The broccoli is finished with a pat of butter, which helps tame the bitterness of the veggie.
Another perk of this recipe is that it creates LOTS of extra sauce. Scroll down for creative ways to use the leftovers. (Spoiler alert: the options are ENDLESS.)
How to Make Charred Broccoli with Hazelnut Romesco
Deeply charred with crisp, frilly ends, this is broccoli at its most addictive.
Bonus points for that the fact that many of the sauce components can be prepared ahead.
This will surely become your go-to weeknight AND entertaining side dish.
- Baby Broccoli: Baby broccoli (or broccolini) has a tender texture and mild, sweet flavor with subtle bitter notes. It's more elegant than regular broccoli, with long wispy florets and thin stems.
- What I love about baby broccoli is how easy it is to prepare and how little waste there is. You simply trim the stems by about a half-inch and you’re good to go!
- Hazelnuts: Look for raw whole hazelnuts, which will still have the brown skin attached.
- Bread: Use a baguette, sourdough, or any kind of white country bread. You need 2 slices, which should amount to 1.5-2 ounces.
- Roasted Red Peppers: Look for roasted red peppers in a jar for convenience.
- Tomato Paste: Most classic romesco recipes include fresh tomatoes. However during the winter months, I find that using tomato paste offers concentrated raw tomato flavor.
- Vinegar: I prefer sherry vinegar, however red wine vinegar will also work. Or, you can use 2 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice.
- Smoked Paprika: For quintessential smoky-sweet flavor.
- Butter: Finishing the baby broccoli with a little pat of butter is a game changer for richness!
- Lemon: I love serving with dish with caramelized coins of lemon. They really elevate the aesthetic and flavor.
Step 1: Toast Hazelnuts and Bread
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Add hazelnuts and bread to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan once halfway through, until toasted.
Step 2: Prepare Hazelnut Romesco
To the bowl of a food processor, add hazelnuts. Pulse a few times until they are finely chopped. Next, combine remaining romesco ingredients and blend until they create a chunky sauce.
Step 3: Prepare Charred Broccoli
Heat olive oil in a large skillet (preferably a cast iron) over medium-high. Once hot, arrange baby broccoli in pan and cook, undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes. Toss, and continue cooking for 5 to 6 more minutes, until lightly charred and crisp-tender.
Add butter, and toss with broccoli. Remove broccoli from pan.
If including lemon slices, arrange in pan and cook until caramelized, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 4: Assemble Dish
Arrange broccoli on a platter. Spoon hazelnut romesco overtop, and garnish with caramelized lemon.
How to Cook Baby Broccoli
Baby broccoli, also called broccolini, is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli.
It's super easy to prepare, and cooks in lightning speed. You simply trim the stems by about a half-inch, and toss it in a hot skillet with some olive oil.
You'll know it's done cooking when the stems are bright green and the wispy florets are lightly charred.
How to Use Romesco Sauce
The recipe makes double the amount of sauce that you actually need. (Which is intentional!)
Having leftover Romesco sauce on hand is one of the easiest ways to elevate weekday meals.
Not only does it add layers of flavor, but it also slips in heart-healthy fats, fat-soluble vitamins, and even a bit of fiber.
Here are some ideas on how to use it up:
- Burger Topping: Lather leftover sauce on a sandwich or burger for the ultimate homemade condiment.
- Salad Dressing: Thin it out with a little extra EVOO and lemon juice for a fabulous salad dressing.
- Pasta Sauce: Romesco makes a fabulous pasta sauce! Try this Orecchiette with Broccoli Recipe for pasta perfection.
Make-Ahead and Storage Tips:
- Make-Ahead: The hazelnuts can be toasted 1 to 2 days ahead. Store in an airtight container. Also, if you're using stale bread, there is no need to toast it.
- Store: The leftover hazelnut romesco sauce will last up to 10 days in the refrigerator. Keep in an air-tight jar or storage container.
More Delicious Broccoli Recipes to Try:
Charred Broccoli with Hazelnut Romesco
- Small rimmed baking sheet
- Food processor
- Large skillet
- ½ cup raw hazelnuts
- 2 ounces sliced baguette, sourdough, or country-style bread (about 2 slices)
- 1 (12-oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- ½ tsp. sea salt and cracked black pepper
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 bunches baby broccoli (broccolini)
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. cracked black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. butter, divided
- 1 lemon, cut crosswise into fours
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.Arrange hazelnuts and bread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan once halfway through, until toasted.
- Prepare Romesco:To the bowl of a food processor, add hazelnuts. Pulse a few times until they are finely chopped. Next, add bread, roasted red peppers, tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.With motor running, gradually stream in olive oil, blending until the sauce is mostly smooth.
- Prepare Broccoli:Heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet (preferably a cast iron) over medium-high. Once hot, arrange baby broccoli in pan and cook, undisturbed, for 2 to 3 minutes. Toss, and continue cooking for 5 to 6 more minutes, stirring only occasionally, until the stalks are lightly charred and stems are tender.During the final minute, add half of the butter. Once melted, toss with broccoli. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer broccoli to a plate. Reduce heat to medium.Add remaining half of butter. Once melted, arrange lemon slices over butter, and cook, undisturbed, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the lemons are caramelized.
- Arrange broccoli on a platter. Spoon hazelnut romesco overtop (you only need about half the batch), and garnish with caramelized lemon. If desired, sprinkle the dish with fresh chopped parsley and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Spread on a burger or sandwich
- Serve with scrambled eggs or an omelet
- Add a dollop to grilled chicken, fish, or steak
- Enjoy with crusty bread, chips, or crackers
- Enjoy over rice or tossed with pasta