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Purple sprouting broccoli is at its best in deepest winter. When it’s dark and the weather is bitter and wicked, this plant will flourish and, as if in defiance, become sweeter with it. There are a lot of delicious ways to cook this superb brassica, but recently I’ve been roasting it, which accentuates its already deep quality. This dish combines a handful of big flavours that all complement the broccoli beautifully. Everyone who’s tasted this dish has gone back for more.
serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
400g (14oz) chunky purple sprouting broccoli
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 knob of butter
2 or 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
8 anchovy fillets
1 small red chilli, thinly sliced
4 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
200ml (7fl oz) double cream
25g (1oz) Parmesan or hard sheep’s cheese, finely grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
Trim and discard any coarser fibrous ends from the broccoli spears, then lay the tender parts out across a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper and trickle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Place the broccoli in the hot oven and roast for 20–25 minutes, turning once or twice during cooking, until the thickest part of the stem is tender.
While the broccoli is roasting, set a small pan over a medium heat. Add the remaining oil and the butter and when it’s bubbling away, add the garlic, anchovies, chilli and rosemary. Sizzle the ingredients for 3–4 minutes, until the anchovies start to melt into the butter and the garlic starts to just toast around the edges. Pour in the cream and bring up to a simmer. Turn down the heat and allow the cream to reduce by a third, or until it’s nice and thick (about 3–4 minutes).
As soon as the broccoli has cooked, remove it from the oven, spoon over the anchovy dressing and finish with a scattering of grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Time by Gill Meller
Publisher: Quadrille Books
Photography: Andrew Montgomery