Heydays Charred Broccoli Caesar

Charred Broccoli Caesar
Heydays/Lauren Miller Photography
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
4 servings

While Heydays at The June Motel might be best known for the Hot Lobster Rolls, this charred broccoli Caesar is one of their more popular dishes, and certainly the recipe they get asked for the most. It was originally inspired by a broccolini version at a restaurant in Prince Edward County that was popular around the time that The June Motel opened in Picton, Ontario. The team couldn’t get it out of their heads, so they made their own at-home Caesar dressing, opted for broccoli instead of broccolini, and added a little crunch with Heydays Everything Bagel Mix — what Freddy calls his “bird seed.”

From Heydays at the June Motel: Beach Town Classics by Freddy Laliberté and Evan Baulch, with Katie Laliberté and Emma Baulch. ©2024 Home Phone Holdings Inc and 2745690 Ontario Ltd. Published by House of Anansi Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Related: The Best Room Service Across Canada; The June Motel, Four Seasons and More



Charred Broccoli Caesar

large head of broccoli
cup Confit Garlic Oil (page 162), or vegetable oil
tsp Kosher salt
tsp freshly ground black pepper
cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to garnish
line lemons, to serve

Caesar Dressing

cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
2 ½
Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 ½
Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Tbsp finely grated garlic
1 ½
tsp freshly ground black pepper
cups mayonnaise

Everything Bagel Mix

cup raw hemp hearts
cup raw black sesame seeds
cup raw white sesame seeds
cup crispy fried shallots


Step 1

Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2

For the broccoli Caesar: Using a sharp knife, cut the broccoli in half. Lay the halves cut-side down on the cutting board, and then make about six pie-like slices so that you are left with long florets that have some surface area and will get nice colour while cooking. Toss the florets in a bowl with the oil, salt and pepper.

Step 3

Get a cast iron or heavy-bottomed pan very hot over medium-high heat, and then add the broccoli pieces. Cook the broccoli until you get hints of char in the florets. Add a few tablespoons of water to give the broccoli a bit of a steam bath. 

Step 4

Once the broccoli is nicely charred, remove it from the heat and lay it out flat on a tray to cool. Ideally, do this about a half hour before serving so that the broccoli is just slightly warm. 

Step 5

For the Caesar dressing: In a large bowl, using a spatula, stir together the Parmesan, Dijon, Worcestershire, lemon juice, garlic and pepper. Fold in the mayo. 

Step 6

For the Everything Bagel Mix: In a bowl, combine the hemp hearts, black sesame seeds, and white sesame seeds. Evenly spread the mixture onto the parchment paper. Bake in the hot oven for 15 minutes, and then stir the mixture and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the hemp hearts and white sesame seeds are turning golden and the mixture smells slightly nutty. 

Step 7

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Transfer the cooled mixture to a bowl. Fold the paper corner to corner and make a tunnel to pour the mixture out into a bowl. Add the crispy shallots and stir to combine. Can be stored at room temperature in a resealable container for up to a week. 

Step 8

Just before plating, toss the cooked broccoli in about ½ cup of Caesar dressing, adding more until you achieve a sauciness that you like. Using tongs, divide the broccoli between six serving plates or serve together on a large platter. Top with about 2 tablespoons of Heydays Everything Bagel Mix per serving. Follow with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan overtop. 

Step 9

Serve with a line lemon on the side, and encourage guests to squeeze it over the broccoli for an extra zing of freshness to cut through the rich dressing.

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