As the name suggests, purple sprouting broccoli is a bright purple cousin of regular broccoli, producing small vivid violet florets.
It is rarely seen on this side of the Atlantic but holds a special place in the hearts of British vegetable lovers. It is a frost hardy plant that grows slowly through the winter, reaching its peak between February and April, thus providing a welcome burst of colour and flavour in the garden and on the plate when folks are starting to tire of winter but the delights of the spring vegetable garden still seem a long way away.
So imagine my delight to find some recently at one of my local farmers markets.
It takes just 2-3 minutes in a steamer to cook, maybe a minute or so longer if the stalks are on the thick or woody side.
It is glorious just dipped into a soft boiled egg but I also like to pair it with a simple blue cheese sauce. Just eat it with your fingers, licking off any stray sauce.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Stilton Sauce
1 bunch purple sprouting broccoli
6 fl.oz (0.75 cup) heavy whipping cream
3oz Stilton cheese
Bring water to a boil in a steamer (if you don’t have one just put a colander above a pan of boiling water)
To make the sauce simply warm the cream over medium heat and crumble in the cheese. Stir regularly until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth (8-10 minutes).
Trim any thick or woody pieces from the end of the broccoli stalks. Place in the steamer and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes.
Remove the broccoli from the steamer and serve immediately, drizzled with the cheese sauce.