What Top Chef fan could forget CJ Jacobson's soggy, brown Broccolini from Season 3? When challenged to prepare the dish for an airplane meal, CJ overcooked his vegetables so badly that they were unrecognizable—and he got kicked off the show for it. Gail Simmons reinvents the recipe by blanching Broccolini quickly, then sautéing it on the stove with a shallot and adding spicy, lemony, homemade bread crumbs at the very end.
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In a food processor, pulse the white bread until large crumbs form. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the bread crumbs and cook them over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden. Remove from the heat. Stir in the crushed red pepper and lemon zest and season with salt. Transfer the crumbs to a plate to cool. Wipe out the skillet.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the Broccolini and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well, shaking off the excess water; pat dry.
In the large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the Broccolini, season lightly with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the Broccolini is lightly browned in spots, about 4 minutes. Transfer the Broccolini to a serving platter and sprinkle the lemony bread crumbs on top. Serve right away with lemon wedges.
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