The slightly untidy and vibrant relative of traditional broccoli is a highlight of the spring season, best enjoyed between February and April. Purple sprouting broccoli can be enjoyed much in the same way as traditional calabrese, but its leafy texture adds crunch to vegetable dishes and also has a slightly higher nutritional value. It is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, E and K, and also contains a range of essential B vitamins, potassium, zinc, fibre and iron.
Make the most of this spring vegetable with the help of our chefs in The Cloth Ear and their step-by-step seasonal tips.
When selecting purple sprouting broccoli, look for strong, firm green stalks with tightly packed, dark green-purple heads. Wash thoroughly and discard any tough leaves, and then divide into individual florets each with a short stem, and diagonally slice thicker stems.
Purple sprouting broccoli can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days, but is best used when it is as fresh as possible.
Purple sprouting broccoli can be steamed, boiled or stir-fried, and boils or steams in 3-6 minutes, depending on the size of the floret. To boil, bring a pan of water to the boil and add your prepared broccoli, cooking until tender.
Chargrilled Purple Broccoli served with Sunflower Seed Tahini
Toss the broccoli in a small amount of olive oil and sea salt, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Place on a very hot chargrilled pan and allow the stems to colour well on each side. Reduce the heat and cover with a metal bowl for 3-5 minutes depending on how much crunch you like.
To create the tahini:
· 1 part sesame seed
· 1 part olive oil
· 1 part sunflower seeds
Toast the seeds in a pan until golden, and place in a food processor with half of the olive oil. Blend to form a paste and add the remainder of the olive oil.