Broccoli with Cheetos

Cover recipe-  Saveur, Broccoli with CheetosJan/Feb 2011

This issue of Saveur magazine is noted as Saveur 100- Chef’s Edition, a grab bag of chef-recommended tools, tricks of the trade, must-visit restaurants, beloved books, amazing drinks, guilty pleasure foods, and much more.  There are 37 recipes from the World’s Greatest Chefs included in this list of 100 things.

I knew the moment that I browsed this cover that I’d be making the recipe I spotted 2nd row from the bottom on the far right:  Broccoli with Cheetos.  When I was pregnant with my son years ago, I had cravings for Cheetos like you could never imagine, and I ate more Cheetos during those nine months than anyone should eat in a lifetime.

#19 on the Saveur Chefs Edition 100 is CHEETOS.  Here’s what Chef Craig Koketsu from Park Avenue Winter in NYC says about his guilty pleasure:  “I like the fact that your fingers get all orange when you eat these, and when you lick your fingers, they taste like Cheetos, too.  It’s hard to get more intense cheesiness out of anything else.  I use them at the restaurant in a broccoli side dish with a homemade cheese sauce; I crush the Cheetos and sprinkle them on top.  The flavor, texture, and look of the dish all come together by adding that one component.”

Read on to find out my take on Chef Koketsu’s Broccoli with Cheetos recipe…

Print Print Recipe

Broccoli with Cheetos

Yield: Serves 6

Prep Time: 25 min + chill time

Cook Time: 25 min

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. minced shallots
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 cups grated aged Gouda
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
kosher salt, to taste
1 1/4 lbs. (about 2 large heads) broccoli, cut into small florets, stems cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
2 cups original Cheetos, crushed by hand

Directions:

1.  Make the cheese sauce:  Heat cream, 2 Tbsp. garlic, shallots, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 6 minutes.  Remove pan from heat, stir in cheeses until melted and season with salt.  Set a fine strainer over a small saucepan and strain sauce, discarding solids.  Set aside and keep warm.
2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add broccoli and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Drain broccoli, transfer to a bowl of ice water, and let chill.  Drain and transfer to paper towels to dry; set aside.  Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add remaining garlic and chile flakes and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.  Add broccoli and cook, stirring often, until just subtly browned, about 6 minutes.
3.  To serve, spoon cheese sauce evenly among 6 warm serving bowls or small plates.  Top sauce with broccoli and a generous sprinkling of Cheetos.  Serve immediately.

Tips:

*The cheese sauce was simple to make.  I'd recommend picking up a very good Parmesan and a very good, flavorful Gouda.  Be sure to use kosher salt for maximum flavor, too.  My cheese sauce was pretty runny at first, but upon sitting for a little while it thickened up to be just right.
*Don't soak the broccoli in ice water.  Plunge it in there to stop the cooking process and remove it to paper towels and let it dry.
*There's a lot of garlic flavor in this recipe.  I'd say it's ok to cut a bit of it out if you're not a fan.

Source:  Saveur Jan/Feb 2011

The results:

My husband and I both tasted the dish.  My husband’s reaction:  he felt like the dish seemed as if some college kids threw it together and thought that Cheetos would be cool to throw on top.  He wasn’t a big fan of the dish.  I ate several more bites than he did, and I have to say that the more bites I took… the more the dish grew on me.  I thought it was fun and interesting and tasted pretty okay.  After all, I’m a big fan of Cheetos. I’m sure that this recipe sounds entirely strange to anyone and everyone out there.  If you’re a fan of Cheetos, you might just like this one.  Kids might think it’s cool and you’ll get them to eat their vegetables, too.  There aren’t a whole lot of Cheetos in the dish so no need to worry about turning a vegetable dish into junk food.  I give the Chef big Kudos for putting something out-of-the-ordinary like this on his menu.  I’d love to know how people react to it in his restaurant!

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Absolutely- not because it was the best of the best, but really because it was an unusual choice to include as a chef’s favorite.  It created some buzz on the internet and I’m quite sure it has been the topic of conversation in many a household too.  That’s what you want in a cover recipe!

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

22 Responses to “Broccoli with Cheetos”

  1. 1

    Jenny — January 11, 2011 @ 6:40 am

    Broccoli with Cheetos reminds me of the FN show where they give the chefs surprise ingredients to combine into a dish like liver, chocolate milk and hot pepper jelly. The cheese sauce sounds good though.

  2. 2

    Debi (Table Talk) — January 11, 2011 @ 8:20 am

    I just saw your tweet about this. I don’t know…I’m still scared of the Cheetos, but if you say so~

  3. 3

    Janis — January 11, 2011 @ 10:43 am

    Well you are a brave woman. Interesting recipe, but won’t be trying it. :)

  4. 4

    Sarah - A Beach Home Companion — January 11, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    That is funny, I like that Saveur put something so non-culinary on their cover. Now that I think about it, I could see Cheetos as a crunchy topping on lots of things, like mac n cheese or soup.

  5. 5

    Wendy — January 11, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

    Creative and fun – just what cooking should be!

  6. 6

    doughmesstic — January 12, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

    Ha! I saw this recipe in Saveur, too and thought the SAME thing as your hub – college kids! I appreciate your posting on it – now I may give it a try. Does seem like a smart way to sneak in some veggies, if that issue ever arises at my house!
    BTW – love the Culinary Covers concept. Like you NEEDED a new project! (Kind of like I needed a new one with that Food Holidays thing I decided needed to be done.) When will we learn?
    Love it though – can’t wait to see what all you have in store!

  7. 7

    branny — January 12, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    Beautiful picture.

  8. 8

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — January 12, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

    so interesting! I love cheetos- I think they might be my favorite snack food. I would totally try this :)

  9. 9

    Sarah, simply cooked — January 12, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

    The problem is what to do with the rest of the bag of Cheetoes!

  10. 10

    Jerri — January 12, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

    Looks interesting. Maybe this could get my green veggie averse hubby to try broccoli.

  11. 11

    Stella — January 12, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

    Wow, that is a very interesting dish. I do kind of imagine that not only the cheese but also the crunch of the Cheeto is probably great with the broccoli. Very neat! I might have to try that…!

  12. 12

    Marlis — January 12, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

    eeeeehhhhhh…..no.

  13. 13

    Nhiro — January 12, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

    I love that you did this. I’m always intrigued by weird recipes like that one and I might have to try it myself.

  14. 14

    Ella Jane — January 13, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    As a student myself, I think I’ll have to serve this to my fellow students for dinner one night. I can even tell them I’m making a fancy restaurant dish!

  15. 15

    Jennie — January 13, 2011 @ 11:10 am

    I am four and a half months pregnant and, I have to say, this dish makes total sense to me…lol. I have to agree with Wendy, this recipe is a great kind of cooking. I love that it includes one of my all-time favorite side dishes! Thanks for trying and posting this recipe! As soon as I can get some brocolli and good, quality cheese I will try this!

  16. 16

    Gwen — January 13, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

    I’m still waiting for the punch line…..
    Gross.

  17. 17

    Kat Connelly — January 14, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

    hmmm, no WW points posted for this one?? :) Does that mean it’s free? LOL

  18. 18

    Leanna — January 15, 2011 @ 4:42 pm

    This sounds so gross! I would never eat this.

  19. 19

    Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) — January 17, 2011 @ 8:02 am

    Hey Lori! Didn’t know you had this second blog – found the link from Kevin & Amanda. I used to love Cheetos, this would be a great way to get them back into my diet!

  20. 20

    Jamie — January 17, 2011 @ 11:15 am

    This is surely and eye catching recipe. You are very brave. I love broccoli, and have been known to enjoy some Cheetos every now and then, but the thought of them together in a dish makes my stomach turn. This totally sounds like the invention of a couple stoned college kids with mad munchies.

    I enjoy reading your opinion of whether or not the recipe was cover worthy. Keep it up!

  21. 21

    Lisa — January 21, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    Picture does not look appetizing and I like all three ingredients. Not very asthethically arranged. Maybe crushed up on top of brocolli and cheese that has been mixed into a casserole type dish. Still not picture worthy.

  22. 22

    Lori Lange — January 21, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

    Lisa- I just replicated the actual photo as it was presented/arranged on the actual magazine. I’m not sure cheetos on broccoli could be asthetically pleasing in any photo lol!

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