There is an abundance of winter root vegetables around in February; celeriac for mashing, parsnips for roasting, carrots for steaming and Jerusalem Artichokes for exciting sautés. I love all of these roots; I cook them up in stews, soups, pies and gratins.
By this point in the year I’m also yearning for crisp, green vegetables. I satisfy my cravings with the beautiful brassicas in season. Cabbages are in good supply as are kale and Brussels sprouts. My favourite ‘green’ vegetable at this time of year is purple sprouting broccoli. This long stemmed variety of broccoli is in season in the UK February – April. These vibrantly coloured florets and stems can be used in much the same way as regular broccoli in main dishes and sides.
Preparing and cooking purple sprouting broccoli
Cut the florets leaving a short stem attached.
Remove any very thick woody stems.
Slice the remaining pieces diagonally for more even cooking.
Steaming or boiling it is a simple and delicious way to cook the broccoli, add butter or olive oil and a little garlic for a quick side dish. The florets will lose much of their purple colour during cooking but still taste incredible.
In this month’s recipe, the broccoli is roasted alongside cherry tomatoes and walnuts to create a delicious warm salad. If you like your vegetables with extra bite, reduce the roasting time to leave the broccoli with more crunch. Broccoli and tomato is a classic combination and you’ll see why when you try this dish: they complement each other perfectly. For a vegan version of this dish, try replacing the halloumi with thick slices of firm, smoked tofu for protein.