Broccoli with Anchovies and Breadcrumbs

This week’s recipe is one of mine, and a favourite in my flat. It’s a delicious way to serve this week’s broccoli alongside fish or meat, or it can be tossed with hot spaghetti and a little extra olive oil to make a delightful, vibrant pasta dish. Please forgive the approximate measurements for many of the ingredients, but they depend on the size of the broccoli head and are best adjusted to taste. This is one of those infinitely adaptable recipes. Hate anchovies? Don’t use them. Trying to use the end of a jar of capers? Pop em in. Have some cauliflower? That’s good too. Let us know what you think if you try it!

By USDA Lance Cheung – Flickr, CC BY 2.0,

1 head of broccoli
1 tin anchovies (optional)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
zest of 1 lemon
olive oil
chilli flakes (to taste)
breadcrumbs (fresh or panko-style work best)

  • Prepare the broccoli by cutting into florets, removing the woody part of the stem.
  • Boil the broccoli in a large pot of rapidly boiling, well salted water; or steam it in a pan or microwave steamer.
  • Gently toast a generous handful or two of breadcrumbs in a dry frying pan until light golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, finely chop the anchovies (if using).
  • Drain the broccoli well, and either let it keep draining in a colander above a pan, or return to pot and heat a little, so that it’s fairly dry, without a lot of excess water.
  • In a large bowl, toss the broccoli with the anchovies, garlic, lemon zest, toasted breadcrumbs, chilli flakes, and a good glug of olive oil (use the oil from the anchovy tin for a little extra flavour).
  • Serve and enjoy