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Rancho Meladuco’s Roasted Broccoli with Lemony Tahini, Bacon Breadcrumbs, and Medjool Dates

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Makes 4 servings 1x

Time 1 hour, partially unattended

Units Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds broccoli (2 compact medium heads)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 slices thick-cut bacon (about 3 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs (see Note)
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 4 Rancho Meladuco medjool dates, pitted and sliced into coins (see Note)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 475°. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and allow to heat for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the broccoli lengthwise into 1/3-inch-thick slabs, reserving any florets that fall off.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Carefully arrange in a single layer, cut side down, on the hot baking sheet. The broccoli should sizzle. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning halfway, until browned in spots and crisp-tender.
  3. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and crispy, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; finely chop.
  4. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add the breadcrumbs to the skillet with the bacon and cook over moderately-low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and remove from the heat.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the tahini with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and garlic. Gradually add warm water, one tablespoon at a time, until the tahini is a thin pourable sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Arrange the broccoli on a large plate or platter. Drizzle with the lemony tahini and then generously scatter the bacon breadcrumbs and date coins over the top. Garnish with more fresh lemon zest and a couple grinds of black pepper. Enjoy!

— Recipe courtesy Julia Heffelfinger for Rancho Meladuco Date Farm

Recipe variations

NOTES:

  • To make fresh breadcrumbs, take any stale or day-old bread and pulse it in a food processor until finely chopped. You can also do this by hand with a knife. I like to keep a bag of these in my freezer and pull out the amount I need as I’m cooking—the breadcrumbs defrost quickly. You can use store-bought breadcrumbs here, but you will not get the same crunchy texture.
  • To cut your dates into coins, remove the pit from the top of the date with pliers or strong tweezers. (Tutorial here.)
  • To get perfectly browned and crisp-tender broccoli, preheat your baking sheet in the oven and give your broccoli lots of space so it doesn’t steam while cooking. If you choose to double this recipe for a larger crowd, spread everything out on two baking sheets.