Charred Broccoli with Butternut Hummus and Smoked Cashew Crumble

plated charred broccoli w hummus.jpg

Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Catrine Kelty

Submitted by Chef Michael Scelfo of Alden & Harlow, Cambridge
Chef Scelfo’s mother served him a lot of broccoli as a child, so he’s always trying new ways with one of his favorite vegetables. He gets local broccoli for the restaurant from Verrill Farm in Concord.

Butternut Hummus:
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and deseeded
½ cup honey
2½ cups extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons cracked Szechuan peppercorns, divided
6 ounces scallions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
14 ounces smoked and toasted cashews (Chef Scelfo makes these in-house at the restaurant; smoked almonds will work perfectly as a substitute.)
1 tablespoon Urfa pepper (a dark, smoky Turkish pepper available at specialty shops and online)
1 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut butternut squash into large pieces and toss with honey, ½ cup olive oil, coriander and 1 tablespoon Szechuan peppercorns. Roast until soft and slightly caramelized, about 30–40 minutes.

Meanwhile, sear scallions in a hot skillet in 1 tablespoon olive oil, until lightly charred; season with salt and pepper, let cool, then slice thinly. In a high-powered blender (like a VitaMix), puree cashews or almonds with 1½ cups olive oil, Urfa pepper and remaining Szechuan peppercorns until smooth. Set aside.

In a food processor, puree the roasted squash, cashew or almond mixture, remaining olive oil, lemon juice and scallion until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cashew Crumble:
½ cup toasted, smoked cashews or almonds
½ cup grated Bianco Sardo cheese, or substitute Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano

Grind nuts in a food processor until fine, add cheese, and pulse until combined. Set aside.

Charred Broccoli:
2 heads broccoli
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
¼ cup honey
Salt and pepper

Light a charcoal grill or heat a grill pan until smoking hot. Cut broccoli into medium sized florets (about 3 inches long, and 2 inches wide). Toss in a large bowl with 4 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill until well-charred, while still retaining some crunch. Remove broccoli from the grill and place back in seasoning bowl. Sprinkle in the crushed red pepper and half of the cashew-or-almond crumble, then drizzle in the honey and remaining olive oil. Toss to combine and season with more salt if needed.

To serve, smear a spoonful of butternut hummus on each plate, top with some charred broccoli and more cashew crumble. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt.

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This recipe appeared in the Winter 2015 issue.