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  • Karine Wlasichuk

Melanie's Kitchen: Broccoli Nachos (You Read that Right)

This all started with the Pandemic Panic. I was at the store, wearing my uncomfortable latex gloves and grotesque mask, when I saw it. The last bag of family-sized shredded (grated!?) cheese. Everyone must've thought the same exact thing: leave the regular-sized bags for the weak, and get the largest bag you can find in case the stores run out of cheese for 3 months. The only reason I thought the same is because it was the last bag and it was taunting me. So I bought the sucker, and it stayed in my fridge, untouched, until today.

Indeed, today we are preparing my friend Melanie's innovative snack/gigantic meal: broccoli nachos. She sent me videos of herself cooking it a few months back and I wrote it down for the day where I had an excessive amount of cheese to go through. And the day has come. I cannot stress this enough: these are so delicious that I have changed my breathing technique to ensure that I could eat a couple of extra portions- we've all been there.

I should also add that I've prepared enough casseroles for the next decade this past winter and René is pretty much done with them- fair enough. So, although this will be served in my typical casserole baking dish, it is oh, so different. And let's be honest, quarantine has meant more movie nights than your mind can begin to comprehend so you might as well switch up the buttery pop corn and slimy nachos for something (although still extremely cheesy) a tad greener?

A note from the following day: I cannot begin to describe how delicious the leftovers are. You know that feeling when you eat a cold pizza on a hangover? Or when you show up at happy hour much later than everyone and just finish the nacho platters, when the cheese has hardened a bit (several coworkers from several of my past job experiences can attest to this- I finish them all)? Well, you get that feeling back today. You are welcome.

Last warning: I may have danced with Ella a tad too much and let the sides of the dish start to burn. But you won't, right?

You will need,

Broccoli (1 crown, chopped)

Shallots (2, minced- for the crunch!)

Scallions (2, thinly sliced- yup, totally forgot to add them, but meant to!)

Olive oil (3 tbsp min.)

Salt and black pepper

Shredded cheese (2+ cups, mine was a mozzarella and emmental mix)

Optional: finely chopped bell peppers or even black olives if you're really in a nachos platter mood

A couple of steps,

1. Mix the chopped broccoli, scallions and shallots with olive oil and salt-pepper directly in the baking dish.

2. Once everything is coated in oil (use your hands for faster results), start covering the vegetables with cheese (I personally used 2 cups but could easily have gone for 4 don't get me wrong). See for yourself if you're satisfied with that amount or if you want more!

3. Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper onto the cheese mountain and pop in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. It will be enough for the cheese to melt and the broccoli to soften, but still have a crunch! Also, I strongly suggest placing the dish on the lowest rack in your oven.

Optional: top with fresh tomato chunks and black olives in the last 10 minutes- it really gives it that pub platter feel.

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