I really love this time of the year! Spring is just around the corner which is a great time to enjoy seasonal vegetables such as Jersey royal potatoes, savoy cabbage, spring greens, radishes and spring onions. Of course there’s also Purple Sprouting Broccoli which is at its very best between February and April.
The stems are edible too so there’s no waste and it is really easy to prepare and cook. Just trim any woody stem ends with a sharp knife and slice though thicker stems so it cooks evenly. Rinse under cold water then either boil for around 5-7 minutes or steam for around 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of floret.
Easier still is to cook in a microwave; put the prepared broccoli into a suitable dish, cover with cling film and add about 2 tablespoons of water and microwave for about 3 minutes on full power depending on your oven.
I find the best grill option to use on my Stoves oven for this and similar dishes is the conventional grill setting; it browns food from the top, quickly and evenly. The conventional grill must always be used with the door open.
The fanned grill option allows air to circulate around the food and is better for thinner foods such as bacon, fish or steaks and should be used with the oven door closed.
My Purple Sprouting Broccoli Gratin with Parmesan can be made in next to no time and makes a perfect side dish that goes especially well with lamb.
Start by lightly toasting the breadcrumbs in a dry frying pan over a low to medium heat. Stir to keep them moving so they don't burn; once done set aside.
Using the same frying pan add about a tablespoon of olive oil and cook the garlic over a low heat.
Add in the cream; let it bubble for a couple of minutes until it reduces by about a third. Season with a little salt and black pepper and turn off the heat.
Preheat the grill.
Now steam the broccoli for about 6 minutes until the stalks are tender. Season with a little sea salt and lay them in a gratin dish.
Reheat the cream mixture till it bubbles and then pour over the broccoli. Top with the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Drizzle with a little olive oil and pop under the grill for about 5 minutes until bubbling and golden. Serve immediately.
View more of Jan's recipes at her blog, A Glug of Oil.
200g purple sprouting broccoli, washed and ends of stalks trimmed
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
250ml double cream
1 slice of bread whizzed into breadcrumbs
Sea salt and black pepper
Handful of freshly grated Parmesan