You know there are ingredients that, by their very nature, are more likely to get a “yuck!” We’re aiming to change that. Take broccoli: There’s no way your kiddos can turn up their noses at these crispy, cheesy nibbles. Plate with a little ketchup for dipping and your brood will never realize (or they won’t care!) that you served them two heads of broccoli as a snack.
18 to 20 broccoli bites
- 2 large crowns of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 large clove garlic
- ¾ cup shredded aged cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ tsp each salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Ketchup for serving
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Fill large bowl with ice water. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Cook broccoli in boiling water until bright green and tender-crisp, about 4-5 min. Drain in colander and transfer immediately to ice water to cool. Drain again, and gently pat dry with clean dish towel. Dry off ice water bowl.
3. In food processor, pulse garlic until finely chopped. Working in batches, add broccoli and pulse until it’s in very small, rice-like pieces (but not puréed); transfer to large bowl you were using earlier. Use hands to stir in cheddar, Parmesan, eggs, panko, salt and pepper.
4. Firmly roll broccoli mixture into golf-ball-sized balls, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over top and use fingers to gently roll balls in oil, until coated.
5. Bake for 15-18 min, until firm and just beginning to turn golden-brown. Serve immediately, with ketchup if desired. Leftovers will keep, refrigerated in a single layer in a resealable container, for up to 3 days.
You can use frozen broccoli florets instead of fresh ones. Cook the broccoli as directed—take out when the florets are bright green and easily pierced with a knife, and then continue with the recipe. Just note that you may need to adjust the cooking time.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, Spring/Summer 2018