Broccoli Bites

Posted on: Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Driving along Route 127 through Swampscott and Marblehead always brings me back to car rides in high school. Friends and I would pile into one of our cars, blast a mix of the Steve Miller Band and Allman Brothers, and drive aimlessly along the coast. On my most recent excursion, I decided to stop at Bill and Bob’s. While known for its signature roast beef sandwich, my friends and I would periodically stop at the eatery for a different snack: Broccoli Bites. Fried and cheesy, with a touch of green make for an addicting car-ride snack.
With broccoli in abundance this time of year, I decided to make my own version a tad on the healthier side. Instead of frying, I bake them. I am also a little heavier on the broccoli and lighter on the cheese. They are just as addicting!
Broccoli Bites

2 c broccoli florets
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 c Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 c grated smoked Gouda cheese (Cheddar or Manchego could also be subbed in)
1 large egg
1/2 t garlic powder
Salt and pepper throughout
Your favorite tomato sauce
Few dashes of hot sauce (I used Sriracha)

Blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath, then drain completely and pat dry with paper towels. Once cooled, chop the florets into bite-sized pieces.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the chopped broccoli, flour, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg and garlic powder until a uniform batter has formed. It should be thick, but easy to form. If the dough is falling apart, add more breadcrumbs and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

To form the bites, measure off a medium meatball-sized ball. Then, press gently in the middle to form an oblong shape. (You can leave the bites as orbs, but the oblong facilitates easier dipping!). Form 12 evenly-sized bites, place them in a lined, plastic container, and transfer them to the refrigerator to meld, about 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cookie sheet generously with cooking spray, and spread the bites evenly across. Spray the tops of the broccoli and bake for 20 minutes, flipping them at the 10 minute mark to brown evenly.

Heat your favorite tomato sauce, add a few dashes of hot sauce, and pour it into a dipping bowl. Once the bites are ready, spread them around the dipping sauce, and serve! Makes a dozen.

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