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Stir-Fried Broccoli with Sichuan Peppercorns

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
  • 3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar, divided
  • 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 scallions, white and pale green parts minced, dark green parts thinly sliced on bias
  • 1¼ pounds broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons peanut or grapeseed oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and finely ground


Procedures:

Sichuan peppercorns don’t provide heat so much as a pleasant resinous flavor and an intriguing tingling sensation on your lips and tongue. To enhance their flavor and aroma, we toasted the peppercorns in a small skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, let them cool, then ground them to a fine powder in a spice grinder.

Don’t overtoast the Sichuan peppercorns. It’s better to err on the side of lightly toasted, as the peppercorns become unpleasantly bitter if overdone.


In a small bowl, stir together ⅓ cup water, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, the soy sauce and sugar. In a second small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons water and the salt. In a third small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and minced scallions.

Heat a wok over medium-high until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds, about 3 minutes. Add the broccoli, salt water and 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil, cover and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is crisp-tender and browned in spots, 4 to 6 minutes. Push the broccoli up one side of the wok to make a clearing.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil and the garlic-ginger mixture. Stir-fry, 10 to 15 seconds until fragrant. Pour the vinegar-soy sauce mixture into the clearing. Simmer, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. Toss the broccoli with the sauce to combine

Off heat, stir in the sesame oil, remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar and ½ teaspoon of the ground Sichuan pepper. Taste and add more pepper, if desired. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with the sliced scallion greens.

by Christopher Kimball

 
 
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