Limited surface area. This is the problem with a broccoli gratin made in a casserole-style baking dish, meaning the ratio of crispy-cheesy-crumb-y topping to soft, tender broccoli is just way under optimal balance. With a sheet pan, however, every dingle morsel of broccoli gets an ample coating of crunch. You know what else is awesome? With a preheated sheet pan (see box, before you get started), the time it takes to roast the broccoli is minimal-I’m talking 15 minutes tops for the caramelized edges and florets. Meaning you can hit broccoli bliss in under 20 minutes. Are you in? —Raquel Pelzel, author of Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless
Preheat the Sheet
Hey everybody! Need to roast some veggies for dinner? Preheat the sheet pan with the oven. This is such an A+ tip because in the same time it takes to preheat the oven you can get the sheet pan sizzling hot- meaning when you turn out those oil-tossed salt-seasoned onto it, they get a good sear right at the top of the cooking process, similar to adding vegetables to a hot skillet. Not only does this jump-start the cooking process and decrease the total roasting time, but it also assures you’ll get caramelized crispy edges and even charred bits, if that’s your thing (It’s totally my thing.)
Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and another rack to the position. Place a rimmed sheet pan on the middle rack and preheat oven to 400°F.
Toss the broccoli florets with the olive oil and salt in a medium-size bowl. Turn the broccoli out onto the hot sheet pan (it should sizzle!) and roast until the bottom of the florets are nicely browned, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the butter and garlic in a ramekin and place it in the oven until the butter melts, 5 minutes. (Alternatively, combine them in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high power in 15-second increments, swirling between each, until the butter melts, 45 seconds to 1 minute.)
Place the bread crumbs in a medium-size bowl, add the butter-garlic mixture, and toss with a fork. Add the cheddar and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses and toss to combine.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven and sprinkle the broccoli with the cheesy bread crumb mixture. Turn the broiler to high and place the sheet pan on the upper rack. Broil until the cheese is melted and browned, 1 to 2 minutes (watch the bread crumbs closely as broiler intensities vary and you don’t want them to burn.) Remove from the oven, transfer to a platter – making sure to scrape up all the crispy, crunchy, cheesy bits- and serve.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Sheet Pan Suppers Meatless by Raquel Pelzel (Workman Publishing, 2017)