Broccoli and Bacon Bake

I grew an amazing vegetable in our garden – Romanesco Broccoli. I’ve never seen it in a shop or even a farmers’ market but it just looks fantastic – and it tastes pretty good too!

I just couldn’t believe how big this was – my husband had to cut it off the plant (which is also huge) using a hand saw rather than scissors! The broccoli weighed in at a staggering 2.1kg (that’s 4 lbs)!

Wikipedia says that the characteristics of this type of broccoli are a cross between a cauliflower and a broccoli and I pretty much agree. When I sliced the broccoli in half the florets were all growing out of a centre core, so I just cut them off. It also has a smell that is quite similar to cauliflower.

And what better way to cook something that has any relation to cauliflower than covered in cheese? This recipe was inspired by one from Epicurious. Of course you can use normal broccoli or cauliflower instead of this weird stuff I have!

You can serve this to 4 people as a main course (with some crusty bread), or it would feed at least 6 as a side dish. I think it would be great with roast chicken.

Ingredients:

  • approx 750g/1.5lb broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp oil, for cooking
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
  • 150g/5oz diced bacon pieces
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1/2 cup thickened (heavy) cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • black pepper and dried mixed herbs, to season
  • 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs

Method:

  • Heat your oven to 200C/180C fan forced/390F.
  • Cook the broccoli florets in a large pan of salted boiling water for about 5 minutes, or until bright green and just tender. Drain then rinse under cold water to stop the broccoli from cooking any further.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan or medium saucepan and then cook the garlic and onion for 3 minutes.
  • Add the bacon to the onion and cook for another 4-5 minutes, or until the bacon begins to brown.
  • In a large jug, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs and cheese to make the sauce. Add a little black pepper and some dried mixed herbs to season.
  • Place the broccoli in an overproof dish in a single layer.

  • Spoon over the bacon and onion and stir to mix with the broccoli.
  • Then pour over the sauce and finally sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sauce appears set. (The sauce will not be set underneath, but will be creamy.)
  • Serve and enjoy!

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2 Responses to Broccoli and Bacon Bake

  1. CorkAndSpoon says:

    What an interesting looking vegetable! I know you mentioned both regular broccoli and cauliflower as a substitute, but which would you recommend?

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