I was recently scanning through my e-mail update from CliffordAWright.com and I saw “Griddled Broccoli”. It was one of those keep-scanning moments, and then (when the brain caught up with the eyes)–back up and look again, and read carefully. This looked like something that would be great for single-serving cooking . I set out to cook my whole meal as a griddled dinner. The house supervisor was on duty, approved and was waiting anxiously to see how this was going to turn out.
A favorite cooking tool in my kitchen is my cast iron griddle which goes across two burners of my gas stove. It’s not a pre-seasoned one–but that’s really easy to do. I got it from my
local garden store which also carries Lodge cast iron. Sometimes I contemplate getting a grill-pan, but I, despite needing two burners, I really like the flexibility of being able to have the grill/griddle combination. It’s certainly not a glamorous piece of cookware, but it’s functional and not all that expensive either.
I have found that trying to use it with only one burner lit really does not let it heat well. It does not have a non-stick finish since I’m concerned about the effects of high heat on that, but it’s well seasoned and non-stick in effect. Besides I also has doubled as a broiler pan too, and I certainly could not do that with non-stick coatings.
I’ve got a lovely rib-eye steak for a red-meat splurge. I could do on my Weber Kettle Grill, but given the uncertainty of the weather now and finding the griddled broccoli recipe, I decided I’d try my whole meal on the griddle.
The griddled broccoli recipe calls for parboiling the broccoli for a few minutes before the actual griddling, but that seems simple enough, even for a quick meal. I want some other vegetables as well as the broccoli with my steak, so I though I’d add some mushrooms, some sweet potato slices, and maybe some red bell pepper to my griddling.
I started by salting the steak as recommended in Cook’s Illustrated; it’s really worth the time to do this. While the steak was resting with the salt, I prepared broccoli almost according to Wright’s instructions, sliced the mushrooms, part of a yellow bell pepper (the red ones at the market just didn’t look or feel really good), peeled and sliced the sweet potato into 1/2-inch thick cross-sections. Because I wanted a variety of vegetables, with two of them that needed a bit of pre-cooking, I opted for steaming instead of blanching for the par-cooking. I steamed the broccoli for only about two minutes since it was cut in fairly small pieces. I steamed the sweet potato slices for about three minutes and then set these aside for griddling a bit later. Because I wanted to cook the whole sweet potato and the more of other vegetables for some planned leftovers, I started on the vegetable a bit before I put the steak on the griddle. I preheated the griddle until I got a good “bounce and sizzle” when a drop of water was flicked on the surface; we were good to go.
I thought that the mushroom and peppers could be easily reheated while my steak was resting and the broccoli was finishing, so I started with those and the sweet potato slices which were still firm. I patted the sweet potatoes dry, since they had been put into cold water to stop the cooking after steaming. I tossed the vegetables with a bit of olive oil, and put them on the hot griddle.
Once the mushrooms and peppers were nice and brown, I removed them from the griddle, moved the sweet potatoes to the front since they would require more attention than the steak.
I patted the steak dry (a little moisture accumulates while it is stand with the salt, and I put the steak on the griddle to start cooking. Since the broccoli has been steamed and put into cold water, I drained it and let it rest on paper towels to dry a bit. While the steak was browning on the first side, I attended to the sweet potatoes and sliced some zucchini which I had decided to add as last-minute addition while looking in the refrigerator for something else. After about seven minutes, I peeked at the underside of the steak. It was a lovely brown, so I turned it over and continued cooking it. Since I like my steaks on the rare side of medium rare, I thought it would take about another five or six minutes, so I put the now-drained broccoli into a bowl and tossed it with a little olive oil. I wanted the steak to rest for about five minutes after coming off the griddle to let all those lovely juices redistribute–even that short of a rest does make a difference.
Now for the broccoli. I put that on the griddle to finish the cooking, and I used an instant-read
thermometer to check the temperature of the steak since it was a very thick one. It showed 115 ° F on the thermometer, so I turned the heat down under the griddle and put all the vegetables back on to rewarm. I took the steak off and set it aside on my plate to rest. After a five-minute rest the vegetables were reheated, and it was time to eat.
Even allowing for the salting time for the steak, I was sitting down to eat in about an hour and twenty minutes. I spent some extra time cooking veggies while the steak was “salting”, but I have plans for those–some can be reheated, and some can go into a salad for another meal. And…yes, there is left-over steak–that thing was huge! That will be good in a sandwich for lunch with some horseradish, or perhaps in a salad; but I won’t try to reheat that.
Had I not wanted the extra vegetables for planned leftovers, all this could easily have been prepared on the griddle at the same time and easily tailored to provide even a mix of vegetables in a single-serving quantity.
The clean-up was really minimal–the steamer, two small bowls, and the plate! The griddle, when cooled just needs a quick rinse under hot water, and drying over flame for a few minutes. It really is non-stick, and it’s easy to keep it properly cured. It does get a lot of use: grilled cheese sandwiches, grilled chicken or pork chops. The red meat aside (and that is a rare splurge) it was a pretty healthy meal: lots of veggies, and very little oil involved in the cooking…but it was really good. I’m definitely a fan of griddled broccoli.