Food52's Roasted Broccoli with Smoked Paprika Vinaigrette and Marcona Almonds

[Photograph: Sarah Shatz]

It's fairly common knowledge these days that roasting broccoli is one of the best ways to eat the vegetable--the high heat cooks the florets quickly, leaving them crunchy, caramelized, and dotted with whiffs of charred goodness. But after a while, even the best roasted broccoli grows tired; it is, after all, only broccoli. Leave it to Food52 to revitalize the side dish. arielleclementine's winning wildcard recipe in The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2 tosses roasted florets with a punchy smoked paprika and garlic vinaigrette. Each branch in the broccoli "tree" soaks up the dressing like a sponge, transforming the humble brassica into a vibrant celebration of the vegetable. The final touch, a handful of salty, rich Marcona almonds, takes this dish into holiday entertaining territory.

Why I picked this recipe: Roasted broccoli is a staple in my weeknight repertoire, and I was curious how to vamp it up for holiday dinners.

What worked: The smokey-sweet dressing was a perfect complement to the caramelized broccoli. Marcona almonds were just the icing on the cake.

What didn't: The recipe instructs cooks to leave out the crunchy garlic bits and smoked paprika sitting at the bottom of the oil. I liked the dish even better when I added those back on top of the broccoli.

Suggested Tweaks: I used leftover dressing on lightly roasted kale; it would be equally wonderful on cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, or just about anything you'd want to toss in a hot oven. The recipe is also easy to scale up to serve a whole table of people.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Food52 Cookbook, Volume 2 to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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