19, Nov 2008
Roasted Gai Lan

We had gai lan (Chinese broccoli, though it’s not that broccoli-like) a couple of weeks ago at a dim sum place, and started speculating on how it would work roasted. I like gai lan (I also like broccoli stems, which are kind of similar), but at dim sum the gai lan (stir fried I assume) seems kind of a letdown to me: the stems are still a bit too raw and tough, while the leaves are limp. I thought roasting might produce something perfect; plus, since I think of roasted vegetables as a more European cooking style, the cross-cultural aspect appealed to me. In the end, it was a very successful experiment. The stems are still crunchy, but a bit more cooked, and the leaves ended up crispy (like gai lan chips, as E said). Plus, the charred pieces looked really nice on the plate.

1 lb gai lan, rinsed and patted dry but left in intact pieces of stem and leaves
olive oil, ground black pepper, salt

lay the gai lan on an edged baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. toss (or hand-massage) to cover with olive oil. sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. bake at 400 for about 30 minutes; stems should appear slightly wrinked, while leaves will begin to char and be crispy. serve in whole pieces.