Seasonal Food: Purple Sprouting Broccoli (Calabrese)

I am always happy when I can make a new discovery at my local market stall. And the gentleman who sells the vegetables even has recipes to go with every imaginable plant matter! Today, my discovery was purple sprouting broccoli. What a name!! Apparently not many people know it, because it has a very short season, not many people grow it and not many supermarkets carry it. Luckily, that does not stop it from existing – yet!

So what can you do with it and what does it taste like? First of all, you don’t remove the leaves. Imagine cooking it a bit like asparagus and a bit like kale. That’s actually what it tastes like other than of broccoli. I had a look on the net and found that most recipes mix purple broccoli with all sorts of other ingredients. For me it would be a shame to kill off its delicate and distinctive taste by smothering it with lots of pretend-posh stuff. I found that having a crap budget and good taste in this case really works well together: just gently simmer it in a bit of salted butter – maybe even until it browns a little – and then serve it with either boiled or roast potatoes topped with some more salted butter. That’s it. Perfect!

Actually, this reminds me of a quote I once saw in the British Library canteen. It was something like ‘England has more than sixty different religions, but only one sauce: melted butter’. Nowadays melted butter seems to have been replaced by the ever-present horror of bisto. Don’t do it….

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2 responses to “Seasonal Food: Purple Sprouting Broccoli (Calabrese)

  1. PS: I put the purple broccoli leftovers into a ‘leftover quiche’ with some fennel, onions and something else I can’t remember. Was very nice!

  2. As a Brit, I grew up with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, it’s a wonderful veg, it will winter over for plenty of pickings in the spring. Only recently have I found seeds on sale here in the U.S. This also applies to Scarlet Runner Beans, way better taste than the regular pole beans. No self respecting Brit., gardener would be without either of these.
    Chas.

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