The first of the Purple Sprouting Broccoli (PSB) was picked this morning in Titchfield and is looking fantastic.  You can eat the whole stalk, it’s delicious, healthy, versatile to cook with and local, and at this time of year, the tender, delicious green leaves are such a treat as we start to weary of the winter root veg. At £3.85/kg it is great value as well, with 250g being a generous helping for 4 people, that’s 25p per portion.

When you are cooking with PSB, you have all the options available: boil, steam, stir fry, roast and it’s good enough to eat raw. It’s great as the vegetable option, but is good enough to be the main attraction on the plate.  If you are looking for simplicity, then halve any of the thicker stems, and boil for 5 minutes, leaves and all.  Then add a knob of butter a squeeze of lemon juice and season.

ROAST: A great starter is to eat it like asparagus – place the PSB into a roasting pan with 2tblsp of olive oil and sea salt, give them a quick roll around for an even coating, and roast in the oven (200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6.) for 10 minutes or until crispy.  Then serve with a good dollop of decent hollandaise and a poached egg.

With Balsamic & Pine Nuts: Roast as above, but instead of the olive oil, make a balsamic vinaigrette with 1 grated garlic clove, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Coat the PSB and sprinkle 50g pine nuts over the top. Roast and serve.  You can also use sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds instead of the balsamic and pine nuts.

If you want a more substantial meal, then it’s fantastic in stir fries, risottos and pastas.  It goes very well with anchovies,(and other salty foods like bacon, parmesan and blue cheese) and I can recommend this recipe for Orecchiette pasta with anchovies & purple sprouting broccoli that you can find here…

Not only is it delicious, but it’s also good for you, containing lots of vitamin C and vitamin A. It is also packed with carotenoids, calcium, folic acid, iron, fibre and other nutrients.