Stir Fried Broccoli with Sichuan Peppercorns

1/3 C plus 2 T water, divided

3 T unseasoned rice vinegar, divided

1 ½ T soy sauce

1 t sugar

¼ t salt

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 t fresh ginger, grated

¼ t red pepper flakes

2 scallions, white and pale green parts finely chopped, dark parts thinly sliced on bias

1 ¼ lbs. broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems peeled and sliced 1-inch thick

3 T grapeseed or sunflower oil

2 t toasted sesame oil

½ – 1 t Sichuan peppercorns, toasted and finely ground

To enhance the flavor and aroma of the peppercorns, toast in a small skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes, let them cool and then grind them into a fine powder with a spice grinder.

In a small bowl, stir together the 1/3 cup water, 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, soy sauce and sugar. In a second small bowl, stir together the 2 tablespoons water and the salt. In a third small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and minced scallions.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine the broccoli, salt water and 2 tablespoons of grapeseed/sunflower oil. Cover and cook for 1 minute, the water should reach a simmer. Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally until the broccoli is crisp-tender and browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl or platter.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil and the garlic-ginger mixture. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 10 to 15 seconds. Add the soy sauce mixture and simmer, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the broccoli to the skillet and stir to coat.

Off the heat, stir in the sesame oil, remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar and ½ teaspoon of the ground Sichuan peppercorns. Taste and add more peppercorns, if desired. Serve sprinkled with the sliced scallion greens. Serves 4.

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