Crack Broccolini

July 11, 2011

If the Food Network is on in my living room, it means one of three things: a) I’m folding laundry (a loathsome business), b) I’m doing my Old Lady Workout (even more loathsome) or c) I’m loafing on the sofa in an attempt to avoid doing the former two items.

Post-vacation laundry called for more time in front of the Food Network than usual this past week. It made me a little cranky. I was sullenly plowing through the pile of Neverending Socks when I heard some perky lady–Claire Robinson? Kelsey Somethingorother?–I can’t really recall–gushing about a dish she’d eaten in a restaurant. “I knew as soon as I tasted it that I had to re-create it at home,” perk-a-licious said.


You know, I’ve eaten a lot of yummy things in restaurants and I never try to re-create them at home. I just go back to the same restaurant and eat it again if it’s that lip-smacking good.

Clearly, I’m a lazy slob.

Why go to all that trouble and experimentation when I can hop in my car, order exactly what I want off the menu, and pull out my wallet?  As Ina Garten would say, “How easy is that?”

Well, I’ll tell you why I tried to re-create a restaurant dish the other day. Because some restaurants have the stinking nerve to be closed on Sundays and Mondays. Those selfish wonks.

This particular restaurant, a primarily sushi-focused restaurant, serves a dish that I now refer to as Crack Broccolini.

Whenever I go there, I have to order it, and it’s so addictive and so delicious that I greedily devour the entire plate before I touch anything else.

This means that my poor husband has never gotten the chance to try Crack Broccolini, because by the time he works his way through his unagi, I’m licking my fingers, green bits of stalk hanging in my incisors, betraying my crime.

Disclaimer: Truly, readers, I am not normally this rude and selfish about sharing food.  In fact, I am so pro-share that I used to purposely suggest Chinese or Japanese restaurants as a first-date venue, just to verify whether my date was on Team Share. This was a serious test. Non-sharers never, not ever, got a second date.  You share your California Roll with me or you die.

I am a little ashamed of my gluttony where Crack Broccolini is concerned, but I just can’t help myself. I’ve thought it over and decided that the key is the glaze they throw on that motherfucker. I don’t know what kind of witchery goes on in that restaurant’s kitchen, but it’s black magic, for sure.

I was craving Crack Broccolini on a Sunday, which was a rotten bit of luck.  So I hauled my broccolini-jonesing self to the store and set to work.  There’s a little bit of fuss involved in this recipe, but nothing too arduous, and while it’s not a pitch-perfect facsimile, it’s pretty dang close. It’s definitely worth busting out on Sunday or Monday when a craving hits, or heck, any day of the week. And no, you don’t have to share. I won’t tell.

Crack Broccolini

serves 1-4, depending on gluttony

2 bunches of broccolini (you can substitute broccoli, but it’s not quite the same; use only one large-ish bunch broccoli, stems trimmed, and cook a bit longer)

boiling salted water

big bowl of ice water

1 tablespoon sesame oil (preferably toasted)

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1-2 cloves garlic, minced*

1-2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated*

1-2 teaspoons Sriracha or sambal oleek*

2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar

dash of rice vinegar or, if you can get your hands on it, Chinese (Chinkiang) vinegar**

a handful of chopped toasted cashews, if desired (not an original element of crack broccolini, but I like the addition)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, set aside a large bowl of ice water.

Wash broccolini and trim off any tough little ends of the stalks (but don’t cut the stalks off!) and remove any little leaves.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, hoisin, Sriracha, garlic, ginger, honey and rice vinegar. Set aside.

When water boils, add broccolini and cook for 2 minutes, until bright green.

Remove broccolini from boiling water and immediately transfer to the ice water, stopping the cooking process. After a few minutes, remove from the ice bath and pat dry with paper towels.

In a large wok or nonstick skillet, heat sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add broccolini and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes, or until broccolini is slightly tender but still crisp. Remove and transfer to a plate.

Add the soy mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens  slightly and becomes shiny. Add broccolini, toss to coat, and serve, sprinkled with nuts if you wish.


*The garlic, ginger and Sriracha amounts really are “to-taste.”  I prefer things on the racy side, so I use a heavier hand. You may want to go light on the first try, and adjust accordingly.

**Chinkiang vinegar totally kicks ass, but rice vinegar works great. I only have a bottle of Chinkiang vinegar in my possession because my amazing friend Jen Yu gifted me with one. She rocks. Alas, I am useless, and have no idea how to obtain this item on my own.

Note to Awesome Readers: Aloha! Back on terra firma and very glad to be home. I missed you all so much and have some juicy vacation adventures to share with you, but I hope you’ll have a little patience with me. The next few weeks, Miss M. has doctor appts., I have to get my annual mole check and other delightful medical capers, and sadly, we have had to make the hard choice to send Harryboy, our fuzzy, bladder-deficient comrade, to the giant litter box in the sky.  I’m gonna be slow. Which gee, I seem to be saying a lot, don’t I? I’ll get back to you, I promise. Just in my old, slow, feline-mourning way.

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Lyndsey July 11, 2011 at 10:20 am

Okay how can I not try it with a name like that? You had my laughing with the image of you with green bits of stalk hanging in your incisors, and I can see that cat that ate the canary look on your face! What?

I actually have some in the fridge, now I know what I want to do with it! Thanks.


Phoo-d July 11, 2011 at 10:21 am

This sounds awesome. We will definitely be giving it a try! I’m so sorry to hear about Harryboy. He was a terrific cat. I will leave my faucet dripping for him today. Glad to hear you had wonderful vacation. You deserved it!


TKW July 11, 2011 at 10:26 am

Well, shit. Your kindness and the recollection of the dripping faucet just made me sniffle. Love you.


Stacia July 11, 2011 at 10:36 am

Sorry to hear about Harryboy, Kitch. Have some broccolini, or okay, maybe some tuna roll, in his memory.


Erica@PLRH July 11, 2011 at 10:51 am

I’ve never heard of broccolini before but it looks suspiciously too much like broccoli.

I am sorry to hear about Harry Boy. :(


Jennifer July 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

This sounds decidedly yummy.

So sorry about the kitty. :( Big hugs to you my friend.


C @ Kid Things July 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Never thought I would see crack and a word resembling broccoli in the same sentence. I don’t usually consider veggies addictive, but I’m intrigued.

So sorry about your kitty.


Biz July 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Welcome back! I have never even had broccolini – I need to pick some up so I can be on crack too! :D

Hope the little ones arm is doing okay. :D


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon July 11, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Yeah! You’re back.
Sad face about HarryBoy.


Kristen @ Motherese July 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I’m just impressed that you have cravings for vegetables. Impressed indeed. I do too, mind you, but I’ve always thought that I was alone on that front.

Sad to hear the news about Harry Boy. May he rest in peace, surrounded by catnip and slow-footed mice.



Heather @girlichef July 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I’m sorry to hear about Harry-boy…he can chase rabbits in the sky with my Lucy.;) I feel like I’m jonesin’ a bit over here for some of that broccolini- awesome flavors, no wonder it’s addictive.


BigLittleWolf July 11, 2011 at 4:10 pm

How is it that you make EVERYTHING sound so damn good? Even something with such a nauseating name? (Not the “crack” part, the “broccolini” part.)

I’m now pondering my next grocery store run… Not sure how this will fit into the UnBudget however, especially considering the obvious risk of Gluttony.

(Very sorry about your feline, by the way. Such a hard thing to do. Sending hugs.)


Alexandra July 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm

ooh ohooooh.

How old is Harry Boy?

I am so sorry.

It is so sad to lose a family pet.


Heather July 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm

It’s summer time and summer screams for slow. So take your sweet time my dear.

Hugs to you all as you say goodbye to Harryboy. Even when it’s the right decision it’s not an easy decision.


Amy @ Never-True Tales July 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I’ve missed you! Hope you had a fun time away, and so sorry about the cat. Be well, and rest in the knowledge that I’d never recreate anything either…just go back to the restaurant, I say!


Katybeth July 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I did not even know broccolini existed. Can we call this dish Bella Broccolini?
It has an awful lot of ingredients but you did promise it was not to arduous..and I do love cashews….

RIP Harry Boy and may your family be consoled with fond memories of you.

Ok, now I have to send this message and the moment I do a glaring error will jump out at me. . .but I am going to be brave, close my eyes, and click submit.


From Belgium July 12, 2011 at 4:17 am

Should we ever meet face to face I promise to give you my entire California roll. No, really I insist.
Deeply sorry about Harryboy.


TKW July 12, 2011 at 6:18 am

From Belgium,

You’d give me the whole thing? Now that’s my kind of chick!


SuziCate July 12, 2011 at 5:16 am

I’ve never had broccolini…I’ve stared at it at the grocery and sheepishly walked by. For sure, I’m going to try it now!


TKW July 12, 2011 at 6:19 am


Do not fear the broccolini. :)


Jenna July 12, 2011 at 7:43 am

Poor Harryboy . . . though “the giant litterbox in the sky” is making me smile.
The only food I have trouble sharing is my popcorn–and even then, I don’t mind people sharing it as long as they (they = my husband) get their own bowl. I don’t know why those little kernels bring out such a possessive side in me. Hmmm.


Barbara July 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Oh yeah and I’ve got some in the kitchen right now. :)


Rebecca July 13, 2011 at 1:18 am

Once I am set up in my new kitchen, this is going into the rotation! Mmmm. Really sorry about Harryboy :(


Katrina Kenison July 13, 2011 at 4:29 am

Greetings, KW. I see your lovely, funny comments on some of the blogs I read religiously and finally, this morning, decided it was time to check your site and find out just who the Kitchen Witch IS — so glad I did. Broccolini!! Am off to the Farmer’s Market this afternoon, and will add it to my list. Love your blog, your recipes, your story, your photos. Glad to know you, at last.


TKW July 13, 2011 at 6:36 am

Hi Katrina! Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment! I’m off to check you out! :)


Christine @ Coffees & Commutes July 13, 2011 at 4:46 am

Confession? I really enjoy cooking. I wouldn’t say I love it, but when the mood takes me I’m definitely into experimentation. Since kids, it hasn’t taken me very often. Sadly. Anyhoo, I have to admit there are ingredients listed here that I have never even heard of. Clearly I’ve been under my rock far too long.


TKW July 13, 2011 at 6:37 am

Never fear. If you can’t find any of the ingredients, I’ll send ’em to you!


Belinda July 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Want. Love Sriracha on veggies, though lately, I’ve been reaching for the Tapatio more.


A Canadian Foodie July 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Great to hear that someone actually craves green healthy vegetables. The recipe sounds diving. I am sure I could eat the entire thing, too.


Naptimewriting July 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Will make this. Love vinegar-y hoisin spicy soy sauces.
Had annual mole check and was clear. Phew.
Sorry ’bout the cat. We didn’t do the same and ours’s demise was disgusting. I still regret *not* putting him out of his misery. Good luck.


elizabeth July 15, 2011 at 5:40 am

I’m sorry to hear about Harryboy too.

As someone who loves to recreate foods I’ve enjoyed out at home (not that there has been that many, to be honest) I support all kinds of kitchen experimentation.


Maria July 15, 2011 at 8:09 am

Yummy crack broccolini! Sorry sorry about Harryboy…It is so hard to lose a pet and to get used the the incredible void they leave behind…Hugs to you, Kitchy…


pamela July 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Oh yum. Have you tried Gwyneth’s new cookbook. She has some takeout chinese chicken recipe that is also amazing. Vinegar and brown sugar – who would have guessed?


TKW July 16, 2011 at 10:40 am


Please forgive me, but I am one of the Haters. If I bought Gwyneth’s cookbook, I’d loathe myself so much that I’d flog myself like what’shisface in the Scarlet Letter. Can we still be friends?


grace July 16, 2011 at 12:56 am

don’t hate me, but when it comes to food i really love, i’m a total non-sharer. i MAY part with a bite, but that’s it. that said, i never expect anyone else to be willing to share with me, so i guess there’s a balance… :)


Dana July 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I’m definitely on team share; you get to taste more items in one sitting, and I tend to not be able to finish food, so I offer it to other people.


TKW July 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm


I usually do not have your problem about not being able to finish food. Piggus Maximus over here :)


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri July 18, 2011 at 9:55 pm

As a card carrying vegetarian, I’ve never tried broccolini. I will try to make this. Because my family loves Sriracha. Even my five year old.

Sorry about Harryboy. Peace.



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