Sweet bell peppers, crunchy broccoli, garlic, and a touch of cayenne are sautéed together to make this colorful side dish. And although there's nothing complicated about this recipe, sautéing the bell peppers properly until they're golden brown is essential.
To achieve the proper results, you need two things: a nonstick skillet with a heavy bottom so that the heat gets distributed evenly, and a light hand when it comes to handling the peppers. Tossing or stirring them too frequently will make them break apart and will not allow them to caramelize properly.
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Note: The broccoli can be blanched up to 1 day ahead. Refrigerate in a sealed container or plastic bag until ready to use.
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 Pound broccoli, florets cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (6 cups)
- 1/4 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 Teaspoon cayenne
- 2 medium-sized red bell peppers, halved, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 medium-sized yellow bell pepper, halved, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
- 1 Tablespoon white balsamic or regular balsamic vinegar
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced very finely
In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes. Set aside.
When the water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon of the salt and the broccoli. With the back of a spoon, push the broccoli down so that all of the florets are submerged in the boiling water. Blanch for 2 minutes; the florets will turn bright green. Drain and transfer to the water bath. When the broccoli is totally cooled (this will take only a few seconds), drain and set on paper towels to remove any excess water.
Heat a large nonstick, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Add the olive oil and cayenne and stir well. Add the peppers and sauté until the peppers are golden brown, tossing only occasionally, for 6-8 minutes. If the peppers start cooking too quickly, reduce the heat to medium-high.
Drizzle the vinegar over the peppers and shake the pan vigorously for a few seconds (the vinegar will evaporate almost instantly as the pan should be quite hot by now). Add the garlic, toss well, and sauté for 30 seconds.
Add the broccoli and season with the remaining salt. Sauté for 1 minute until the broccoli is warmed through, tossing constantly. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.