Most of my understanding of the category of diner sandwiches we know as “melts” comes from the hyper-local archive of culinary amusements I know as Foods My Husband Will Order For Himself When Left To His Own Devices. I can’t give away all of his secrets — well, I can, but for a fee — but I have been given permission to tell you that the list is topped with Regrettable Chinese Takeout With a Life-Threatening Amount of Sichuan Peppercorns (to be repeated next time, no lessons learned), and somewhat further down the list, only if the day has been long and terrible enough, is a tuna melt — as in jarred mayo meets canned fish meets something square and flat that only passes for cheese in America. Did it not always come with a side of steak fries, which I want to steal because you should know by now that fries don’t count when I say I’m not hungry for dinner, I’d probably be breaking our house “don’t yuck my yum” rule even more often than my offspring.
So when I read that 2016 was going to be the year of the melt, I wondered if we were in for more dark times for Deb, such as when the entire universe decided that beets were delicious and it was 24 months before I could safely order a salad again. Instead, I decided to take matters into my own hands and rewrite the melt script in a way that I could enjoy, endlessly. Because I like bread. I like cheese. And while tuna salad may not be my thing, I hope you will soon agree that the mess I call Broccoli Rubble is ever as much deserving to be a star.
Loosely inspired by my favorite crispy broccoli as well as this pecorino fried bread, broccoli rubble applies the same family of flavors to the stovetop, where briefly blanched and well-chopped broccoli is sautéed with a sinus-clearing volume of garlic and pepper flakes, before being dressed with lemon zest, juice and salty pecorino cheese. Previously, I was happy enough to eat broccoli rubble straight from the bowl, but now that I’ve seen what happens draped with with a broiled-until-blistered-and-collapsed slice of deli provolone, there’s no going back. Biting into this, I realized that we expect things under a curtain of cheese to be mild or bland but this — all crunch and booming flavor, basically, broccoli talking with its hands — is anything but. All that’s missing is the steak fries.
One year ago: Perfect Corn Muffins
Two years ago: Stuck-Pot Rice with Lentils and Yogurt
Three years ago: Italian Stuffed Cabbage
Four years ago: Double Coconut Muffins
Five years ago: Green Bean Salad with Fried Almonds
Six years ago: Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Cream
Seven years ago: Alex’s Mom’s Stuffed Cabbage
Eight years ago: Best Chocolate Pudding
Nine years ago: Mom’s Chocolate Chip Meringues
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Frozen Hot Chocolate
1.5 Years Ago: Smoky Eggplant Dip
2.5 Years Ago: Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes
3.5 Years Ago: My Favorite Brownies
4.5 Years Ago: Hazelnut Plum Crumb Tart
I usually make this with broccolini, which I prefer because it much less notably discolors when hit with lemon juice. Outside of aesthetics, both broccolini and regular broccoli work the same here, and are equally delicious. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys anchovies, they meld well here with the garlic and pepper flakes.
Yield: 8 small-medium open-faced melts
1 pound broccolini or regular broccoli
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
A few pinches red pepper flakes, to taste
Finely grated zest, then juice, of 1/2 lemon (juice before zesting only if you enjoy being grumpy)
Coarse salt, to taste
1/2 cup finely grated aged pecorino romano cheese
8 thin slices totally unfancy deli provolone
8 slices bread of your choice
If using broccolini, cut it into 2-inch segments. If regular broccoli, peel the stems with a vegetable peeler first so that they cook evenly, and cut the rest into large chunks.
Pour about 1-inch puddle of salted water into a large sauté pan and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and cover with a lid and boil/steam for 2 minutes. Drain well and pat dry on paper towels, wringing out as much extra liquid as possible. Chop into small (roughly 1/2-inch) bits.
Wipe sauté pan dry and heat over medium. Add olive oil and let it heat for a full minute. Add garlic and pepper flakes, cooking for 1 minutes, or until the garlic is just beginning to turn golden. Add the broccoli and cook 1 to 2 minutes more, seasoning with salt. Transfer mixture to a bowl and add lemon zest, juice, pecorino and more salt and pepper flakes to taste.
Heat broiler. Arrange slices of bread on a tray and lightly toast on both sides. Scoop broccoli mixture onto each slice of bread, lay a slice of provolone over it and run under the broiler until cheese has melted and begun to blister. Eat. Repeat. Don’t forget to share, or at least hide the evidence if you decide not to.
226 comments on broccoli melts
When you boil the broccoli, are you losing the vitamins into the cooking water? Or, is that just an old wives tale?
Not a wive’s tale, you do lose nutrients to the cooking water. Reduce your losses by steaming the broccoli in a small amount of water until just tender.
Really wish an image for the recipe would populate when pinning to Pinterest from my phone. All that comes up is your cookbook.
JENNIFERPIPPALOALTOCOM, use the gray pin button at the bottom of her recipe (by Do More).
Made this with addition of anchovy. Was perfect, didn’t need to add extra salt. Instead of steaming in pan, I steamed the broccoli in the microwave for 3 minutes. No need to drain or dry.
We always save the cooking water from any vegetables and freeze it in ice cube trays or small freezer safe containers after it cools. When we collect enough, we dump them all into a pot of vegetable soup.
I now know what I’m doing with the rest of that broccoli!
What could be wrong with crispy bread + any topping + cheese? I am with Alex on this one! And your broccoli melts look fabulous, they immediately made the list what to have this week.
Re, losing vitamins, perhaps not an old wive’s tale but not something I generally fuss over. Regardless, I meant to add that the goal is to get it very lightly cooked while still 90% crisp. You could steam, microwave or even just sauté it for a couple minutes to the same effect.
Sounds delicious! I think you missed something…”Outside of aesthetics, they work the same here.” They?
While this does sound fantastic, I have to admit that tuna melts are at the top of my list for all-time favorite things to eat, and not just at a diner. Actually, tuna melts were all I ate at the hospital once I’d given birth. I’d put myself on a very strict nearly tuna free diet for years and year in anticipation of having children. And now that I know I’m done, I can’t be stopped.
And you know how I love a good beet salad. Incidentally, I meant to suggest you read Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins for a pro-beet book. With all that extra time you have these days, of course.
Amber – There is some nutrition loss when you boil veggies, but blanched veggies aren’t in the water long enough for it to make a difference. It’s when you’ve boiled vegetables until they loose a lot of their color that you’ve lost some nutrition to the water.
Assuming Broccoli should be broccolini in the first paragraph and the ingredients?
Either way, I’m making these for dinner!
One pound broccoli or regular broccoli
Do you mean “broccolini” for this first???
Broccoli/broccolini typos — Now fixed, thanks.
These look great! I will try as soon as we can get out of the snow to the grocery store!
Oops- I think you forgot a “broccolini” in the leading text to the recipe? If that’s what discolors less?
Hi Deb! I think you should change this part; it might be confusing :)
“1 pound broccoli or regular broccoli”
Oops! Fixed already!
Oops- just updated the webpage- sorry to repeat the suggestion!
The only kind of chef that I could ever become is a toast specialist, so I really appreciate you opening this new avenue for investigation!
Oh this sounds and looks incredibly delicious! Thanks for sharing this!!
This is one melt that I will absolutely gobble up. Yes please.
Tuna melts are my #1 craving food. I’ll go months and months without thinking about them and suddenly I’ll think “I WOULD PUNCH SOMEONE IN THE FACE FOR A TUNA MELT RIGHT NOW” and then I can’t concentrate on anything else until I get one. This looks like a pretty great variation though…..
How well do you think this would work with broccoflower? I bought some in a fit of inspiration and then…lost the inspiration. Would love to find a way to use it that *might* be acceptable to my two kids!
I’m afraid to admit that a good tuna melt may well be my favorite sandwich choice. I’m actually thrilled it’s the year of the melt. That said, this broccoli melt looks fab and I am seriously going to try it. I may however use cheddar since it’s my favorite kind of cheese. The absolute yummiest thing on your blog, however is that little ginger sprout. The hair, is it getting redder by the day? And those curls. I can’t even take the cuteness.
These seriously look so yummy! I feel like they would be great with soup!
If you add some raw bacon to the broccoli mixture, the fat soaks into the bread and the bread fries and sizzles most wonderfully. Like so: http://bit.ly/1oncSkA
*stares dumbfounded* Now I’m a little sad I used my broccoli in a broccoli sausage casserole last night.
Also good with a little smear of Dijon mustard on the bread. Try it, you’ll like it!
YUM! Those look so good.
I had diner tuna melt on the mind before you even Said ‘hubby’s tuna melt!’ On sourdough or rye, “never try this at home,” and with the fries you speak of. Anywhooo – only when out. Herein comes these delights! I’m so making these in the Home-land. Great mix. Love the vegetarian (says the tuna melt eater) angle!
Those sound delicious. You could add a poached to take them over the top.
Oops, add a poached egg.
Molly – I second your recommendation that Deb read Jitterbug Perfume! Such a good book, and it is the reason I even ever tried beets. (Their earthiness frightened me before then.) I still don’t really enjoy them, but I can appreciate what they bring to the table now.
On a side note, (or rather, more on topic) I’ve never commented here before but read your posts religiously. It’s usually the simpler recipes that I adore the most, so I’m sure this one will be a hit too. Can’t wait to try it!
Considering broccoli is the only veggie I can get my boyfriend to willingly eat, I know what I’m making for dinner tonight!
Melts are a favorite in my house, mostly because my hubby can actually make them. This will be a nice addition to our choices!!! Thanks for the idea!!!
Took me a second to realize it was on bread, rather than stuffed in a potato. Thoughts on if I can sub??? On a gluten free pregnancy diet. Thank you ;)
Holy holy, but that baby. I want to eat her. I have everything for this except broccoli. I bet even the toddler might eat this as he is into both broccoli and bread. Winner, winner. I’m stopping by the store tonight. Wish me luck!
Seems to be calling for sliced San Francisco extra sour sourdough bread, if I am not mistaken. Thanks for another winner!
Mmmm, mmm … I don’t have any broccoli at home, but I’m thinking that head of cauliflower in my fridge would substitute beautifully.
“broccoli talking with its hands” – love it and can’t wait to eat this. Possibly tonight on top of a baked potato since I don’t have bread on hand. This is my kind of February slush storm consolation food.
So my son LOVES roasted broccoli (as in, we bribe him to eat his dinner with the reward of more broccoli)…which is great, except that is the only way he’ll eat it. I’m hoping he’ll eat this because I need it in my life!
Love this idea for an easy lunch with the girls. Just add wine :)
Deb, I love the anchovy idea you mention briefly. Do you see it being something you chop up and add in at the end? Would it be too much to top 1/2 anchovy per slice?
These are awesome! Made them tonight for dinner with rosemary sourdough bread and cheddar instead of provolone (it’s what I had around). Perfect quick tasty dinner after a long day. Thanks for another great broccoli recipe; keep ’em coming!
the broccoli rubble looks good but a tuna melt is truly divine.
You are a fantastic writer. Oh, and an amazing cook. Thanks for sharing both of your talents.
While this looks delicious and I plan to make it soon, I’m really just commenting to say that you and your husband make exceptionally beautiful babies.
I am simultaneously elated and horrified this is the year of the melt. I LOVE all melts and especially tuna on sourdough with sharp cheddar, however my gallbladder is in the midst of a rebellion and may have to be done away with. In the meantime I’m on a cheese hiatus which I never thought would/could happen. My firm belief is cheese=life.
This combines my hands down favorite vegetable with crispy bread and melty cheese and even with everything else taken into account I REALLY, REALLY want to eat this! It looks AMAZING!
I am in France, and I am wondering how a croque monsieur à la broccoli to replace the ham would be….think I’m going to have to try it. YAY!
Mmmmm, this looks delicious! Definitely the kind of melt I could get behind too :) xxxx
I’ve always made pizza like this (sometimes with tomato sauce, sometimes without) but stupidly it never occurred to me to make a quick fix on bread! Thanks!
I am going to try these with goat cheese. Not much provolone here but delicious goat cheese. There is a goat farm up the road from me that makes the best fresh goat cheese.
Anything with melted cheese on top tends to be delicious. I’m going to try this for lunch–I have some broccoli in the fridge and yesterday I made your whole-wheat oatmeal bread! (and there is always an assortment of cheese around here–I’m in France and it’s almost required by law).
Made this last night, scaled down because I only had a little broccoli! And didn’t have provolone so used shredded jarlsburg. It was yummy! And broccoli (lemon too) being a good alkaline choice too! Thank you for posting! :)
YES! All of my favorite things! This looks like tonight’s dinner. Thank you. :)
I only have cauliflower. How bad could that be?
These look great! I’m strongly in favor of anything –melt!!
But, I think I’ll try it with rapini (an Italian bitter green aka broccoli rabe) — rapini can stand up to the strong flavors here and really shines with the garlic/chili/lemon combo!
I am with you on the dislike of tuna melts and beets. There is something about warmed up tuna salad that I just can’t handle and beets taste like dirt to me. I’m fairly certain I’ve never even eaten a tuna melt. Also, as a grown up, I seem to have lost my love of tuna salad anyway.
Broccoli is a favorite and I will give this a try asap. Thanks!
This is a Great Recipe! I added Crisp, crumbled BACON on top of broc mix, then slice of cheese….MMMMMMMM (PS…I love your recipes) !
I can’t wait to make this! I am going to put a thick layer of these garbanzos-http://joythebaker.com/2016/02/olive-oil-braised-chick-peas-with-feta/- under the Brocc-perfection. And it will be just a wee bit nutritious. Yeah right…
Thanks for sharing the recipe. I wonder if you could put the links to past recipes at the bottom of the recipe, so that the entire recipe will fit on one page?
Thanks for your consideration.
I just want to say I *love* your blog. Your writing is really great, and I enjoy every time I see a new entry arrive in my inbox. Thanks for doing what you do, and doing it so well.
I am so sad that I squandered my broccolini on a crappy dinner the other night when I could’ve had THIS tonight!! Argh.
A question-could you blanch the broccoli/broccolini? What sort of texture is the goal here? Just checking. Thanks for another amazing recipe. :)
Yesterday, I was wondering just why the happy heck did I buy double the broccoli I needed for soup; now, I know the answer! This is my dinner tonight, and I cannot wait. Thanks, Deb!
This looks so amazing! I never considered melts healthy until I saw this recipe. So excited to make it myself!
Susan — You’re going for it to be bright green but still very crunchy.
Sue — Ah, that was a misplaced tag on my end. Now fixed. (It’s usually below that cluster of links.)
Adding anchovies — You saute it in with the garlic at the beginning. The Lot 2 version uses 6 anchovies for half a pound of broccoli; that sounds like a bit much to me but to each their own. I might use one or two.
Could there be a more perfect apres ski meal?
Just purchased some broccoli rabe that will be right at home nestled under a pile of cheeeeeeese. And thank you kindly for the anchovy suggestion. (That’s happening.)
Beets are the stupidest vegetable in the world. Couldn’t agree with you more about safely ordering salads.
I am so glad that someone else hates beets! I don’t get them! I was horrified to find someone had ruined a perfectly good cinnamon roll recipe by putting pureed beets in the dough. The horror! These broccoli melts, on the other hand, look delicious!
This looks like a brilliant plan for lunch tomorrow!
9 years already! Wow!
Beets I can do without. But the diner tuna melt is a favorite. Especially on rye with Swiss and tomato. Especially from Waverly Diner. Or Pete’s Diner on Queens Blvd. I break my vegetarianism for one of those!!!! I can’t wait to try these broccoli melts though- all of the deliciousness with no guilt. Thanks!
I could eat these RIGHT NOW, but I only have Swiss chard, and no provolone … only Edamer. Sigh.
Your offspring photograph made my eyes water. What a happy little darling… (the one without the beard ;)
I make the original lemony blistered broccoli with good bread and butter once a week or more when the husband is traveling. It is my guilt free option although I wish it had more protein. This one I can sell to my husband as a sandwich and add a salad and call it a meal to end with a cookie of course (for balance). I wish we had smaller boules where we live in Seattle. I end up throwing a lot of stale bread. Do people have success freezing baguettes and crusty breads?
Yes to freezing bread and rolls. Make sure you put your bread in plastic bag that does not have holes in (that is the latest innovation here – Aussie) and then double bag. The 2 bags protect the bread/rolls from ending up like bricks when defrosted. Generally I take out what I need the night before. If in hurry popping it in the oven works really well. If in more of a hurry Microwave will do the job. The fresher the bread is when frozen the better it is when defrosted.
Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! A very substantial vegetarian meal. I used a rosemary bread not sure if the flavors would work together but it was perfect. I couldn’t find the pecorino romano cheese at my grocery store so I used a parmesan/romano blend. Will be making again!
Re the toast: I have always toasted on both sides but one of the best restaurants here in the Berkshires of western MA always does “toasts” with only one side browned. I’m thinking this may allow the spready-thing to soak in better. ?? Any opinions?
Made it … ate it… loved it. Thanks for a quick and easy… And beautiful supper. After a long day it was such a treat to be excited about making this. Was tempted to skimp on the garlic but was glad I didn’t. Could not have been more perfect.
This looks delicious. Very similar to a recipe in my Claire’s Corner Copia cookbook from the famous vegetarian restaurant near Yale in New Haven, CT. She uses broccoli and mushrooms with monterey jack. So yummy. Can’t wait to try your version–I love provolone cheese and don’t use it enough.
Just tried this for dinner tonight and it was exquisite! I have Celiac’s disease, so I did a socca (a la David Lebovitz) for the base and broiled it as usual. One batch of socca used approximately all of the broccoli mixture (I happily ate the remaining broccoli with a fork).
Adding some chopped roasted red pepper might be a delicious variation. We’ll try it next time, but that might just be tinkering with perfection. : )
We made these tonight, my 11 year old and I. We added strips of red pepper across the top for color. Delish!!!
http://www.marthastewart.com/314389/emerils-kicked-up-tuna-melts This changed my opinion of tuna melts!
Love how simple and healthy these are! Lovely!
I could sit and read your blog all day. We would all starve, but I would be happy. The descriptions do make me want to jump right up and cook something. Your pictures are outstanding. Your family just as precious as can be. Thanks so much for sharing your talents with us. I am a huge fan.
“Most of my understanding of the category of diner sandwiches we know as “melts” comes from the hyper-local archive of culinary amusements I know as Foods My Husband Will Order For Himself When Left To His Own Devices.” Hahaha. This is a perfect sentence. If I wrote it, I would only replace “melts” with “scrambles.”
Holy Cats, that looks good! And that could be the only thing you make for dinner, since it has veggies, protein, and carbs in one dish! Hello, veggie aisle!!
Before I read the recipe, just from the picture, I thought the base of this melt was a halved sweet potato and now I can’t stop thinking about that, although I’m sure toasty bread is also (obviously) delicious.
Really yummy with a fried egg on top!
In case anyone is wondering, this recipe is still delicious if you really don’t want to go to the store and use (a) a combination of broccoli and cauliflower; (b) cheddar rather than provolone; and (c) a handful of your two-year-old’s baby belles instead of parmesan.
These were fabulous! Even my 7 and 9 year old boys said make these again, soon!
Looks wonderful!! SO So yummy looking.
This is right up my alley but ooh so much cheese! Will be trying this recipe soon :)
Can not wait!
I wonder if I could get grandkids to eat this? The cheese is a plus and they do like broccoli….hmmmm….
You always come up with such fab ideas! Love these easy crostini with cheese. I love broccoli and I always keep some in the fridge.
This looks fantastic. Like Molly, I love tuna melts, but restrain myself because I plan on having a couple of kids. Deb, I thought our palates were soul sisters because you’ve never led me astray, but then you drop the bombshell that you don’t like beets?! I LOOOOOOVE beets with so much of my being. I typically just boil and peel. They’re so sweet and pair beautifully with goat cheese and barrel aged balsamic. I also like them raw, julienned with vinegar and tossed in a salad, most recently with avocado and garlic-sauteed celery root.
Made this tonight as an appetizer/side, and it was awesome! On the second batch, I didn’t toast the bread before putting on the broccoli, and those turned out better. If the bread is fresh, don’t roast before:gives the final product a nice chewiness. If it’s day old bread, I’d say go ahead and toast. Thanks, Deb! Perfect weeknight side.
Loving every one of your posts! Thanks so much for all the new recipes! I can’t wait to try them!
Could not wait to make this and had no suitable bread so we just had the broccoli mixture on the side of rice and roast chicken. So delicious!!! I cannot wait to make it on toasts!!
Thanks for this one. My children like most others are veggie avoiders with the exception of Broccoli. So I serve it with everything and have broccoli and Stilton soup about 4 times a week, greatful for any recipes which give me some variation.
Another delicious one! Perfect winter lunch for work-at-home person, instead of scrounging through leftovers. Thank you!
Made these last night with CSA broccoli. It definitely hit the grilled cheese spot with some green. I paired with tomato soup and it was perfection. Thank you!
I know what I am doing with this green “delishisnus’, it’s going on Polenta, Spahetti Squash, Sweet Potatoes and of course a nice Rustic Italian Bread downed by a bottle of Red!
Looks delicious! Great weekend recipe for family and friends!
Made these with a couple of White Russians this afternoon with my mom. Both were amazing. I took another commenter’s advice to only toast one side of the bread and they were perfect! Thanks, Deb!!
I sooo love your writing!
And the recipe sounds delicious.
Will try it out on my daughters ASAP.
They used these yummies on QVC yesterday when they were offering crisper screens for the oven. Meredith and David sang your praises and said they were big fans of Smitten Kitchen. Looked delish, they did a good job showcasing your recipe!
Love your writting. The recipe sounds delicous. I’m going to try this for lunch. Thank you.
Oh my goodness! A bountiful melt!! I loved every bite an am seriously considering making another one right now!! I loved the garlic and I used a Meyer lemon. My mouth is wanting more. I also downloaded the recipe for a cauliflower melt. Do you think that toasted sunflower seeds would add anything to the recipe? I ask because when I used to get tuna melts, I remember them being added to that one!! I love your recipes!
This seriously looks stunning and delicious.
Well, I never think about ‘melt recipes’ (or even baked recipes) as healthy foods before, but this really surprises me.
This must be perfect when paring with simple veggie soup. Love it.
I used to eat meat, but now am vegetarian. This is better than any tuna melt I have ever had. So often, vegetarian sandwiches are roasted vegetables with goat cheese. That’s OK, but gets boring after a while. This blows it out of the water.Thanks so much!
I’m trying these tonight stuffed in portabella mushroom caps (instead of on top of bread) with bread on the side. Super excited! Thanks Smitten Kitchen!
I love these broccoli melts. The combination of romano and provolone is fantastic. Another winner.
That looks so good! Anything with cheese looks good tbh haha.
These are so delicious! I made the broccoli mixture at the beginning of the week and stored it in the fridge. I’ve been toasting off individual melts for every meal, and they are still delicious on day three! Plus, the cheese topping hides the less than vibrant green of leftover broccoli.
Yum!!!!! Heavenly dinner :)
OMG Deb, these look incredible! I’m going to go ahead and file this under ‘best Smitten Kitchen recipes to make before I die.’ (maybe that could be the title of your next book?)
I personally love a bready, cheesy thing as much as the next person, but at diners, these two ingredients are more often than not used to showcase something meaty (or canned tuna-y) – a major disappointment to someone who doesn’t eat much meat. I love the idea of broccoli as the star. Thanks for sharing!
File this one under “things that taste too good to stop eating” (even though it made you eat a half a loaf of bread.) The garlickly-lemony squirt of each bite made it impossible to stop. Huge thanks!
thank you deb, we ate this dish yesterday and loved it! isn’t it funny that you think of a dish, it materialises in your kitchen and then you spread it like seeds around the world. thank you so much.
Back to add: I made this again, doubling the broc and used it in an egg scramble and again with rice noodles and broth for a quick lunch soup. Delicious and so many ways to use the “rubble”! Thank you!
I modified and used baked potato halves instead of bread. Everyone loved it.
I made this today, but I didn’t have provolone, so I chopped up some sharp cheddar and taleggio instead, and added a sunny side egg on top. My husband loved it and said it reminded him of something that they would serve at Shopsin’s, which is his favorite restaurant and high praise!
Lucky me, neighbor went on vacation, so gave me a bag of organic broccoli. Just made it for lunch,one word AWESOME.
We have a head of romanesco I bought on a whim. I’ve not cooked with it before, but know it can often be substituted for broccoli — has anyone tried it here?
Katie — I’m sure it would work just fine. Just cook it until firm-tender and chop it up.
Absolutely delicious! Could happily eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
This was excellent! I used a crusty sourdough and included the anchovies, just two, minced. The leftovers were quite good reheated the next day, too!
Made this for dinner last night and loved it, of course, but the shocker is that all three of my very particular, but not-particular-in-the-same-way eaters gobbled it up AND asked to eat the leftovers today for lunch. Hallelujah!
My faith in weeknight cooking, temporarily lost due to getting into a rut because of busy life pressures, has been completely restored by this recipe! I bought the ingredients last night, and then tonight managed to cook and eat it in the 30 minutes I had before my evening appointment. So delicious that I am inspired to get back in the game! Btw, I added the anchovies and I was glad.
Made this (with my guacamole and chips) as a simple supper & spirits evening for some friends, who could not compliment this lovely concoction enough. One had it with beer, another with some red, and I with tequila. Whatever you serve it with, it works! Thanks for another stellar recipe, Deb.
and, ps, ditto all that Lisa (comment 79) said! You are an amazing woman. :)
Thanks so much for sharing your many talents with us.
dear Deb, I love your vegetarian-ish style it’s brilliant. this recipe came into my life and it occurred to me that it might be to your liking http://www.paaka-shaale.com/2014/04/makai-paaka-corn-cobs-in-coconut-sauce.html?m=1
What a yummy idea. Provolone and romano together is enough to get me interested and the recipe looks quite easy so this dish will have to be tried soon.
I saw the pictures somewhat yesterday and I HAD TO COOK THIS :D Immediately! So today dinner was mainly about your broccoli melts and they are so delicious <3 Thanks for the recipe!
Wanted to suggest my family’s fav broccoli-cheese sandwich — a well-olive-oiled bread with broccoli, blue cheese and toasted walnuts. So good.
Just made this and it SO HIT THE SPOT. Thank you!!
This recipe was featured on BuzzFeed’s “31 Delicious Things to Cook in May.” before even looking down at the caption i knew that it was a Smitten Kitchen recipe! I recognized the baking sheets and the overall style of photography. Can’t wait to try these- can never go wrong with broccoli and cheese!
Do you suggest smoked or regular provolone? It’s getting harder to find provolone that isn’t smoked.
Joan — You can use either. I personally used regular, unsmoked.
Thank you Deb, I’m going to get regular unsmoked, smoked might fight with all those other flavors going on. Making this in three days CAN’T WAIT
This is genius. I substituted garlic scrapes for the garlic, and used havarti instead of provolone, because that’s what I had on hand, and it couldn’t have been a more delicious lunch. Except maybe if I had added a glass of wine.
I plan on putting this on pizza crust. Your recipe, of course!
“Broccoli talking with it’s hands” is the best food description, ever.
This was really tasty; however, my toppings came off my toast as I ate it. Next time (and yes, there will be a next time), I will ad a thin slice of cheese (glue) on the toast before I add the broccoli. Otherwise, this tastes delicious. I served with roasted pork tenderloin and crispy french fries.
Deb, I used to be able to save your recipes to NYT Cooking, but with your upgraded blog I no longer can do that.
Do you now have a way I can save your recipes on your blog?
Thanks very much
I know, it’s very frustrating. We are aware and they are trying to find a solution.
We made these again last week and they are so delicious! My husband doesn’t even really like cooked broccoli and he loves these! I’ve made these with provolone and also with havarti – both are excellent choices! Thanks for the great recipe!
I don’t know why it’s taken me eight months to make this, but having just returned to work after a year of maternity leave, and with a commute that at best gets me home with about twenty minutes to get something on the table before my son starts melting down, I’m on the lookout for fast and delicious weeknight meals. I actually made the broccoli salad tonight to have it ready for tomorrow’s dinner, but I’m standing at the counter and eating it with a spoon…
Has anyone tried assembling these a day ahead and then broiling them? I want to know whether they get soggy. I want to bring them to a friend’s house as a condolence meal/snack and want to make it easy for them to just pop them in the oven.
I want to make marry these. I want to marry Deb. I know, I know, but these are SO GOOD. I have a weakness for lemon/garlic/hot pepper flakes so I figured I’d like these, but I fell hard. Insanely good, insanely easy, insanely hard not to eat the rubble before it gets to the bread. I had some leftover black bean soup (the slow cooker recipe from this site) so we had black bean soup and broccoli melts for dinner tonight and I can’t stop eating. Cannot recommend enough.
Delicious. And, I went one crazy step further in my quest for cheesy melt, I did an apple melt on sourdough with cheddar. Try it next.
Can you substitute parmesan for the pecorino?
The fact that you hate beets makes me like you even more!
Throwing a Christmas party this weekend and this looks like a lovely hot appetizer option. Could I do the broccoli Rubble in advance and then maybe just briefly warm it in the microwave before assembling and putting under the broiler? Or would that just wreck everything?
That should work. You might even be able to use it lukewarm or cold. The broiler should warm it too, I’d think.
I loved these! Used cheddar instead of provolone.
Made these AGAIN, this time adding leftover ricotta from the crusty baked cauliflower and farro recipe (https://smittenkitchen.com/2017/01/crusty-baked-cauliflower-and-farro/). Super yum!
Just made these and they were absolutely amazing. The lemon is genius – I never would have guessed to put that in there but its so delicious. I used parmesan and cheddar cheeses because that’s what I had on hand. It all came together so quick and I definitely plan on making this again. I served it with some roasted red pepper & tomato soup.
So I’ve made this before more or less as written, and it’s fantastic, but I just made the broccoli rubble part tonight and mixed it with a healthy scoop of ricotta and used that as a pasta topping, and that is also very good.
I finally made these! The lemon was a little strong for my liking, so I will cut it down next time. I used a jumbo lemon, so perhaps that was the problem. In any case, I never thought of broccoli melts and I am glad to have healthy new lunch in the rotation. Thank you, Deb.
all crunch and booming flavor, basically, broccoli talking with its hands
best description ever :)
I am going to make this for brunch. There is a head of broccoli that needs to be used, there is rye roll I can cut in half,anchovies in the cupboard. I don’t have any provolone cheese (I will have to look that up , but I am sure I don’t have it). The dog has a block of cheese called tasty, I can use some of that. I mean she isn’t going to know I am “borrowing” her cheese, is she ? The seasonings and lemon are there and I might use blue cheese as there is no pecorino .
That should do it. I will report on success or not….
Ok so I though pecorino was cheese and it’s a bread ?? I will still use the blue cheese for bit of a kick. The tasty cheese is not particularly strong.
Right, so I need new glasses pecorino is a cheese, I still did not have any. I did use the blue cheese and the anchovies and it turned out a bit salty. Next time, and there will be next time perhaps less anchovies or the pecorino. But it was fast, tasty and just the right amount for a brunch. For one. (Smallish head of broccoli).Great way to use up broccoli that should have been used yesterday and there is not much left in the fridge.
I will try the original as well as some of the other stuff mentioned in comments. … after I have been shopping.
Another winner for dinner! As we ate these, my family was talking about other veggies that would benefit from the same treatment. Thank you! I bought too much broccoli so will make more rubble for my work-from-home lunches this week.
I have a new one coming er, this week or next! Glad it was a hit.
I just finished making the “rubble” and could eat the entire thing straight out of the pan. I am practicing restraint though because I want to have a melt for dinner, and I am sure it will be worth the wait. I did want to share one tip…to get rid of as much water after boiling the broccoli, I put it in my salad spinner. I couldn’t believe how much liquid I was able to remove. Hey Deb, how long will the rubble keep in the fridge or can I freeze it?
It will keep in either but it’s definitely going to lose a little texture and nuance. Glad it was a hit, and all part of your master plan. :)
Omg perfect! New fav dinner!
I’m extremely late to the broccoli melt party, but these are a huge success and will def go into the weeknight meal rotation. I even had to use frozen broccoli because my (suburban! American!) supermarket is wack and did not have fresh broccoli in stock this weekend. The lemon and cheese and sourdough bread make up for a lot of sins. These are about one good tomato slice away from being mini-pizzas, too.
Oh Deb. Deb. Deb. Deb. This was fabulous. First of all, I maybe have once been stumped by the seemingly sarcastic question: Which would you rather give up – Broccoli or Chocolate? Of course, the person asking expected me to answer chocolate. A no brainer, right? Still not sure what my answer is.
All of this is to say, I’m bit of a broccoli fan(atic). And this was exactly how I love it – loaded with garlic, red pepper flakes, S&P, and cheese. Of course I put my own spin on it, which I highly recommend to you. Before sauteing the garlic, crisp up diced prosciutto and add that to the broccoli mix. I also had some smoked mozzarella leftover and used that instead of the provolone. Groan. So So Good.
Anyway, thanks, as always, for a new family fave!
Delicious! I made this with mozzarella, sliced, placed on top of the broccoli, then under the broiler. A finishing taste, Balsamic glazed drizzled on top, served with a side of sweet potato fries, baked.
Oh my goodness, This looks so delish! I am so happy I found your site!
Have you been to Daily Provisions at 19th & Park South? They have a broccoli melt sandwich that is absolutely divine and addictive for broccoli lovers. These melts remind me of it :)
I haven’t been yet because I’m afraid I’d have to buy one of everything but will definitely try that when I go. There are not enough vegetable sandwiches in this world, IMHO.
This weeks tweet is more broadly applicable. It is COLLIGATIVE BROCOLLI, brought to you at madskit on twitter (the mad scientist in the kitchen). Brocolli adsorbs a lot. Season oil. Saute brocolli and it adsorbs the oil. keep the heat on. Add 1 tablespoon at a time of a complementary water based sauce, and it steams the brocolli which sucks up all the sauce.
Made this tonight. It was good. Next time I will add some fat to the toast (butter it or add olive oil or something). I also might work well to add an egg on top of you want more protein!
I have learned over the years that if you splash a little bit of oil, into the water and coat your broccoli with it before cooking, it will retain its bright green color.
The recipe looks great! Genius way to make even a broccoli hater change their mind. I love the comment about zesting before juicing – been there, done that!
Yum! Another winner!
My husband and son were suspicious, but they loved it! They cannot go meat free, so we had it with chicken noodle soup! Yum!
I do not understand why I love this so much. We eat it at least once a week for dinner (yes just this equals best dinner ever), and now that my husband is gone for the week I am on night number 3 straight…. This is so much more than the sum of its parts- magical really. I cook from this site all the time, but this is the all time favorite recipe. I like it sans zest, just a squeeze of juice, my husband loves it with zest and an anchovy or two dissolved into the garlic/red pepper flakes. This is the only dish in the world that makes me wonder if the bread is really integral, because think how much more I could eat if there wasn’t bread to fill me up. Also, I never bother with the bowl, just toss the broccoli right back into the pan with the garlic once I turn the heat off and proceed from there.
Which bread is the best for this?
These are the best sandwiches, we absolutely love them!
This is great, as has already been mentioned :-) We had it on cranberry bread, and the cranberries really added a nice touch. Would add them to the mix next time; a little like your broccoli slaw.
Thanks, Deb! I was looking to so something different with my broccoli the other night, and this fit the bill perfectly. I love the prep technique, and the flavors and textures were deeelicious. At the end, I threw in a handful of pine nuts… everyone loved them! ~Jen
This is one of my favorite recipes. I have also made it with half cauliflower because I needed to use some up. I like it best using a fancy bread like rosemary or asiago to add even more flavor.
Made the broccoli melts last night. Way more delicious than I even expected.
I got your new cookbook and this was the recipe that made me want to buy it. When I picked it up off the shelf at the bookstore (yes, I’m old-fashioned) and opened it, this was the first page I saw. I thought, “I have to make that without delay,” which is unusual for me as I am not normally a broccoli fan (over-exposure in childhood). This sentiment was so out of character that I knew this was an inner voice to be listened to. I bought the book and the next day made the melts (with cheddar, which was on-hand) and they were beyond delicious. Even better, my family liked them too. I’m looking forward to dining my way through the rest of your book. Thank you!
I made these for a crowd and they were much appreciated. I’m just sad that I only got one slice!
I’ve been trying to find a way for my son to eat vegetables. I’ll try this one. lol
I made this last night for the first time, kind of spur of the moment, and omg, the rubble is amazing. I think I ate half of it straight from the bowl. I didn’t have pecorino-romano, so I used 24-months aged parmesan-reggiano instead. I do think it would have been extra-good with the pecorino and will use that next time. I also didn’t have provelone and so tried both white cheddar slices and colby slices. I wouldn’t recommend white cheddar – the sweetness clashes too much with the lemon, garlic, and red pepper. The colby was better, but fairly neutral. Next time I will get provelone in advance or maybe gruyere…mmmmm….
I made this two time. The first didn’t cook the broccoli in advance, so the tasty was really strong. And for the second time, I followed the recipe, but only to replace provolone with morbier which is the preferred cheese for melting purpose. And oh man, it was delicious and filling.
Definitely gonna add this to me “Make it Again” list.
I’m late to the party, but I made this tonight and it was great! I love the broccoli rubble and I think I’m going to be making it and adding it to all kinds of things!
GOSH these are good. I’ve never, in my life, considered eating broccoli on toast but I’m a total convert now. I didn’t have unfancy deli provolone so I used cheddar. It was great. Rocketed to the top of my “Make Again, Soon” list. I am a new cook and am loving, loving, loving working my way through Deb’s recipes. It’s hard to find one that’s not delicious.
WOW. This is so good!
I made a few changes to simplify this because I am just the laziest – chopped the broccoli (& some mushrooms because I had them) in a food processor until they were pretty finely chopped but not minced, then cooked the whole thing by heating up olive oil, adding garlic until golden, adding a big pinch of red pepper flakes for 15 seconds or so then adding in the mushrooms until soft, then the broccoli. I put in a bit of water to steam it in the pan, but this way it’s one less step. The water cooks off by the end so it’s not soggy.
So delicious. I am thrilled. Such a good dinner! It also seems like something where you could make a big batch of the broccoli mix ahead of time and then pretty easily throw together a melt for a super quick meal.
You’re an entertaining writer and I love your recipes. Thanks for helping us feed our peeps!
Can I use frozen (well-drained) broccoli for this recipe?
I haven’t but I think others have with success. You won’t need to parcook it but you should really pat it out on paper towels if you can.
Making this right now but using sweet potato slices instead of bread.
Made this last night as a more nutritious grilled cheese to my tomato soup. It was delicious! The lemon zest and juice added freshness. Made it on a slightly stale ciabatta sliced lengthwise, drizzled with evoo, then under the broiler for a hot minute. Proceeded with toppings. Wouldn’t change a thing!
Had some frozen tomato soup from last fall and craving a grilled cheese. Had everything on hand, so whipped this up for myself at lunch today. Totally hit the spot on this gray, rainy day during SIP. Thank you!
The puddle of salted water – is it 1 inch wide or 1 inch deep?
Please tell me you’ve had the broccoli melt that Daily Provisions makes!?
I have not, but I had the broccoli slaw and I’d say it’s very… inspired. :)
This was awesome and my mind says what about on homemade garlic toast or on top of garlic mashed potatoes???
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. And I’m getting broccoli in this week’s organic veggie bin. That seems like an auspicious alignment.
We tragically don’t have a broiler in our dinky white oven – any chance we could still make these somehow to a similar result?
Of course. Just put it on the highest heat. A toast (with a tray) might work too.
This was a delightful change of pace for us. I used sourdough bread and crumbled bacon for a little more umami as I did not have anchovies on hand. We are adding this to our regular. It was surprisingly light (bright) in flavors with the zest and the red pepper. We can easily see this being a perfect compliment to many soup nights and may consider parlaying it to a party appetizer. Thank you!
I made this with marble rye and it was awesome
Okay that might be my dream combination.
This has become my favourite lunch in recent months. This week I made it with asparagus instead of broccoli and it was fantastic.
Surprised that the Washington post has an almost identical recipe today, June 9, 2021. Attributed to “an idea which came to me as I was contemplating what to do with leftover broccoli rabe”. Pretty much this recipe.
Wow! That’s very hmm…
Most of my family loves this just as it is, but my youngest is anti-broccoli (gasp!). Tonight he asked for a corn melt instead, and I’m glad to report it was very well received! I’m kind of considering a charred corn and tomato panzanella situation when the good tomatoes start.
This looks like the recipe that is in the NYTimes. Did you adapt it from there?
I just found Friday night’s dinner!
By the way, I cut my broccoli into bite sized pieces, toss with salt and pepper and olive oil (and other things if I’m in the mood) and roast at 400 till done-for me that’s tender and nearly carmelized/charred. 20-30 mins. I mean, you are heating the oven anyway. I’d broil the toast on the same sheet. I’m lazy like that.
I just laughed out loud at the visual of trying to zest the lemon post squeeze.
The struggle is real. Thanks for the giggle. I’m doing this without blanching.
We’ll see how it goes.
What a way to elevate these ingredients! I use what i have on hand- today, just regular broccoli, pizza blend cheese, and a french baguette a bit past it’s prime and came out with this delicious creation! Served with salad. Kids embraced it (broccoli is the unanimously loved vegetable in our house). Really chopping the florets and stems makes for an easier bite. 100% embracing the melt!
I skipped the steaming step and cooked the chopped up broccoli entirely in a pan and it was great! I’m sure steaming it is great, too, but the fewer dishes, the better for me. I just started at a lower heat and then cranked it up. These are a really fun veggie version of a melt!
I love this recipe. It’s simple, delicious, and easy to make. What more could you want?
How have I missed this for so long? Found some on-its-last-legs broccoli and a couple of frozen slices of g-f bread. Had some goat milk jalapeno Jack cheese plus some dairy-free feta. Used your process and boom! The lemon seems to be the key to this bright, flavorful combo. Thank you!
All my life I have firmly kept broccoli and cheese separate, and then I saw this on your instagram and it just looked….too dang good. Wow. The best new to me recipe I have made in a long time. Already scheming to have friends over and serve these all casually like I don’t know I’m about to rock their world…”oh, what, these little things?”
I’ve made this recipe many times, and love it, especially on sour dough toast. The broccoli mixture is good just by itself as a side dish. Tonight I’m having it on a leftover baked potato.
Where has this been all my life?
Oh and I used parm inside and cheddar on top; delicious. Fully intended to add anchovy; forgot, doesn’t matter.
“Don’t Yuck my Yum,” I love it!!!