I love my nonstick (Circulon) stir-fry pan for weeknight vegetable side dishes. Because of its bowl shape, it traps a bit of moisture and enables dense veggies like broccoli and cauliflower to steam a bit while they’re also browning. To most stir-fries with dense veggies, I usually add at least a bit of an aromatic vegetable like onions, peppers, or mushrooms, because they give off moisture that helps the other veggies cook. Some nights, I leave it at that, but this stir-fry has two other flavor tricks – a little sauce and a garnish of crispy bits (strips of orange peel, julienned ginger, and thinly sliced shallots and garlic).

Serves 3 to 4

  • 1 large navel orange, washed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon julienned peeled fresh ginger, plus 1 to 2 teaspoons minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (more if needed)
  • 2 large shallots (2 ounces), peeled and thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (from about 3 small crowns; 10 to 12 ounces after trimming)
  • 1 large (6 to 7-ounce) orange or yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced on the diagonal into pieces about ½-inch thick
  • Kosher salt

1. Using a Y-shaped or other vegetable peeler, peel 6 or 7 wide, long strips of peel from the orange. Stack the strips and slice them thinly into julienne pieces. Set them aside. Cut the orange in half and extract the juice.

2. Combine 3 tablespoons of the orange juice, the lemon juice, the soy sauce, the brown sugar, the minced or grated ginger and the cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk well.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick stir-fry pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the orange strips, the julienned ginger, the shallots, and the garlic. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, about three to four minutes, or until everything is lightly browned (the orange will crisp up and darken first). Take the pan off the heat; transfer the orange peel, ginger, shallots and garlic to a plate with slotted spoon. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and return the pan to medium-high heat.

4. When the oil is hot, add the broccoli and peppers, season with ½ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until all the veggies are browned in places. If the pan looks dry at any time during the stir-fry, add a teaspoon or so more oil. (Don’t worry that the pan will look crowded at first. The broccoli will first steam and brighten in color, then shrink and begin to dark brown in spots.)

5. Stir the orange juice mixture and pour and scrape it into the skillet. Stir briefly, remove the pan from heat, and continue stirring until the sauce thickens and coats the vegetables.

6. Immediately transfer the veggies and sauce to a serving platter and garnish with all of the fried orange, shallot, ginger, and garlic bits.