I have never been the type of person who avoids the stem portion of broccoli, but I’ve heard that such people exist. I think I actually prefer the more substantial stems to the florets, which are dry, fibrous, and fluffy when raw. (I want fluff in my pillows, not in my mouth.)
But somehow, even with my preference for the butt end of the broccoli, I often find myself with a few leftover stalks. Either my recipe will only call for florets, or I’ll get lazy and decide I don’t feel like breaking down a thicker stalk. Either way, I’ll toss the thing in a zip-top bag, then chuck it in the fridge until I have enough to make a broccoli stem tart.
A broccoli stem tart is exactly what in sounds like—a collection of broccoli stems arranged on top of cheese and pastry. It is delicious, and my favorite was to “use up” any leftover broccoli stems.
The format is pretty loose; you can make this tart as simple or as complex as you desire. At the very least, you will need frozen puff pastry, fresh goat cheese, and broccoli stems. If straight chèvre is a little too tart for your palate, cut it with a little cream cheese, or mix in herbs or another, harder cheese (like parm). There are a lot of things you can do with the cheese, is what I’m telling you.
There are also a few things you can do with the broccoli. I like to pre-roast mine until it just starts to brown on the edges. I also enjoy seasoning it with salt and MSG. If you have other veggie odds and ends, feel free to get those involved too: A little caramelized onion, some roasted carrots, or even a couple of dollops of leftover mashed potato would be right at home alongside your stalks.
Broccoli Stem Tart
You will need:
- 8 ounces broccoli stems
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil (Or bacon grease! Or any other roasting fat you like!)
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 big pinches MSG
- 6 ounces chèvre
- Optional: Fresh black pepper, herbs, or any other seasoning you think would taste good mixed into goat cheese.
- 1 sheet of prepared puff pastry, thawed but cold
- 1 egg, beaten
Slice the broccoli stems into 1/4–1/2-inch-thick sticks, keeping them as long as possible. (It’s okay if they are a little irregular, so don’t get too precious with it.) Toss the sticks with oil and season with salt and MSG, then roast in a 400℉ oven until they are tender and just browning on the edges (25–35 minutes). Remove from the oven and let cool completely. (Leave the oven on and set to 400℉.)
While the broccoli sticks are cooling, season the goat cheese with pepper and/or herbs (if using) to taste, then unroll the pastry on a floured surface and flatten it with a rolling pin to ensure an even thickness. You don’t want to roll it out too thin—you just want it even. Transfer the pastry to a parchment-lined sheet pan and gently press the cheese on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the side.
Arrange your broccoli stems in a pattern you find visually appealing, brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg, then pop the whole thing in the oven until the pastry is puffed and golden brown—about 30 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving (and drizzle with hot honey for extra credit).