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Lemony Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan Crisps

Photograph by Debbie Koenig

Even the busiest among us have people over for dinner sometimes. The trick is to find recipes that are company-worthy, but don’t actually take much work. This, my friends, is such a recipe.

When you roast lemon slices, the heat of the oven caramelizes the sugars and softens the bitter skin. The whole thing becomes edible, and faintly sweet. Plus, come on, those charred golden slices make this look gorgeous. Swellegant.

That blast of hot, dry air also works magic on broccoli, making each little frill irresistibly crunchy. And speaking of crunchy, did you know that if you bake a pile of grated Parmesan cheese, it turns into an almost crackery crisp? You might have seen Parmesan crisps in tiny, expensive packages at the fancy foods shop. Save your money: They’re really that easy. Sprinkled on top of roasted broccoli and lemon, they add a salty counter-punch and elevates this simple side dish.

If you don’t tell your guests (or heck, your family) how easy this is, I won’t either.

Lemony Roasted Broccoli with Parmesan Crisps

Serves 4

1 lemon (preferably organic), well scrubbed

1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt & pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

1. Thinly slice half of the lemon. Remove seeds from the slices and scatter on the baking sheet. Juice the other half and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with the oil, plus salt & pepper to taste. Add to the baking sheet in a single layer (it’s fine if some lemon slices are covered).

3. Roast for 20 minutes, then give things a gentle stir, leaving some open spaces on the baking sheet. Sprinkle the Parmesan over all—especially on those open spaces—and return it to the oven.

4. Roast another 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and transfer the broccoli and lemon slices to a serving bowl. Gently toss with the reserved lemon juice, then scrape the crunchy bits of cheese from the pan and crumble them on top.

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