Eggs PSB

Purple Sprouting and Hollandaise is a classic and very delicious combination. There is a variation “Maltaise” – Hollandaise with blood orange which is famously paired with asparagus or purple sprouting broccoli but personally I prefer it without the orange.

Hollandaise is typically used in the classic “Eggs Benedict”, which got me thinking of trying to add the purple sprouting broccoli to an English muffin, as they are known in America, and create a new brunch dish. I replaced the ham with crispy streaky bacon (another great combo with purple sprouting broccoli) but apart from that and the purple sprouting broccoli the rest is the typical poached egg, and napped in Hollandaise. But what to call it.  The classic French names usually have little clues in them of origin or ingredient. Hollandaise sauce must have its routes in Holland, Maltaise sauce, as oranges come from Malta, Eggs Florentine as Florence was famous for spinach and Eggs Benedict originate from a famous wall street broker with a hang-over at The Waldorf Hotel in New York. This is the best I could do.

Eggs PSB

Serves 2

For the Hollandaise sauce

1 small onion or shallot, very finely chopped

50mls white wine vinegar plus a splash for poaching the eggs

125g good quality butter, cut into cubes

2 free-range egg yolks

Sea salt

Squeeze of lemon

 

2 English muffins, split in half horizontally, toasted

Large handful of purple sprouting broccoli

6 rashers of good quality streaky bacon

4 very fresh free-range eggs

 

Put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil.

Make the hollandaise: In a small pan, heat the onions, vinegar and a little water. Boil until the liquid has reduced to around a tablespoon (keep an eye on it, as the liquid will suddenly reduce very quickly). Take off the heat immediately and strain through a fine sieve. Reserve the liquid, discard the onion and leave to cool. Put the egg yolks in a large bowl (one that fits snugly over the pan of barely simmering water) and add the vinegar reduction.

Whisk the yolks vigorously until pale in colour and voluminous (this will take a good few minutes, so be patient and keep the heat really low to avoid over-cooking and scrambling the eggs).

Still whisking constantly, start adding the butter, drip by drip initially. Keep adding and whisking, so the mixture emulsifies and looks glossy; this will take about 5 minutes. Don’t add the butter too quickly, or the mixture will split. If it does split you can rescue it by putting another egg yolk in a clean bowl and gradually whisking it into the split mixture. If it has scrambled, unfortunately you won’t be able to save it.

Once the butter is all incorporated, add a good squeeze of lemon juice and add salt to taste. The hollandaise can be kept warm but not hot.

Trim the purple sprouting broccoli into nice tender stems. If the stems are too thick cut them in half lengthways.  Add to the pan of boiling salted water and cook for 3 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add a dash of vinegar to the same water and watch it turn pink and at a gentle rolling boil, carefully crack in your eggs. Cook until your liking and remove with a slotted spoon onto some kitchen paper.

Meanwhile fry your bacon until crisp on both sides in a frying pan with a little veg oil. Drain on kitchen paper and cut in half so that they fit on the muffins.

Spilt the muffins and toast. Arrange the muffins halves on a plate, top with crispy slices on bacon, plenty of purple sprouting broccoli and  then place a poached egg on top of each and pour the Hollandaise sauce over the top. Serve straight away.

Sautéed Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Grilled Polenta

We made wet polenta a few weeks ago and as much as I love it, I also wanted to give this grilled variety another try. The grilling toasts the cheese in the polenta and adds loads of flavour. You could serve it up alongside any veg, but it looks particularly pretty with this purple sprouting broccoli. Unfortunately, it has a tendency to loose most of its purple colour in the cooking water, so you don’t want to cook it for two long. It is important, therefore to make sure all the pieces of broccoli are roughly the same size and that you have removed all the tough stem pieces, otherwise you will have to cook it longer. Just keep the more tender stems.

Sautéed Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Grilled Polenta

Polenta

100g polenta

50g butter

50g grated parmesan

A good handful of purple sprouting broccoli

Extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, very finely sliced

Extra parmesan for shaving

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blanch the purple sprouting broccoli in plenty of boiling salted water for three minutes. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and plunge into plenty of cold water. Drain really well in a colander.

To make the polenta, bring 400mls of water to the boil. Quickly whisk in the polenta. Turn down the heat and allow to gently bubble for five minutes until thick and smooth. Stir well and remove from the heat and season well with sea salt. Add the butter and parmesan and stir in until dissolved. Pour the polenta into a pile on a flat plate. Smooth out on top to create a thick circle or polenta and allow to cool completely.

When cold, cut into wedges. Heat a griddle, a bbq or a frying pan until really hot. Heat some olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan and fry the garlic until light golden brown. Add the purple sprouting broccoli and fry for a few minutes, seasoning with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Lightly brush both sides of the polenta with olive oil. Place the polenta of the hot surface and allow to lightly char. You want the taste of the toasted cheese. Do not fiddle with it too much. When the polenta has formed a crust, it will be easy to flip it over with a metal spatula. Grill the other side. Place of a large plate and top with the broccoli. Top with another drizzle of olive oil and some parmesan shavings.

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Teriyaki Stir-fry with Cashew Nuts

This is such a great use-up dish at the end of the week, when your fridge is still full of veg and you know your next veg box is coming. You can throw in whatever you like and haven’t even padded it out with noodle, it is just veg, veg and more veg and you can be sure you have got your 10 a day

Teriyaki Stir-fry with Cashew Nuts

Serves 2

Teriyaki sauce varies hugely. My favourite is Waitrose home-brand.

Large knob of fresh ginger

2 cloves of garlic

1-2 fresh red chillies

1 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced

Handful of purple sprouting broccoli, sliced finely

Head o Bok, Choi shredded

Few sticks of celery and its leaves, shredded

2 carrots, peeled and then peeled into ribbons

Sweet mixed peppers, sliced, seeds removed

Teriyaki (for gluten free a mixture of Mirin, gluten free soy and Chinese cooking rice wine)

Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Chopped cashew nuts, toasted

Sea salt

Cut the chilli in half, remove the seeds and finely chop. Scrape the ginger with a teaspoon to remove the outer layer and grate. Peel the garlic and grate it. Heat a large wok or saucepan and add some sesame oil, the  garlic, chilli and ginger. Fry for a few minutes. Add all the rest of the vegetables and stir fry for 5 minutes or so. It is important to keep the veg moving all the time as the name stir fry implies. When the veg is well wilted, add the teriyaki to taste and a pinch of salt if necessary. Remove from the heat and add a little more sesame oil to taste. Add the freshly chopped coriander and chopped cashew nuts and stir well and serve straight away.

Cut the chilli in half, remove the seeds and finely chop. Scrape the ginger with a teaspoon to remove the outer layer and grate. Peel the garlic and grate it. Heat a large wok or saucepan and add some sesame oil, the  garlic, chilli and ginger. Fry for a few minutes. Add all the rest of the vegetables and stir fry for 5 minutes or so. It is important to keep the veg moving all the time as the name stir fry implies. When the veg is well wilted, add the teriyaki to taste and a pinch of salt if necessary. Remove from the heat and add a little more sesame oil to taste. Add the freshly chopped coriander and chopped cashew nuts and stir well and serve straight away.

Conchiglie with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Anchovy and Chilli

I love this time of year. Your vegbox evolves from, let’s admit it, something which sometimes over the winter might have been just a little bit of a chore, to complete pleasure. Suddenly there is a burst of spring, with new vegetables emerging every day. They return to our boxes like old friends and have us reminiscing recipes of years gone by. I realize, slightly worryingly, that I have probably cooked this recipe every spring for some 25 years now!

Conchiglie with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Anchovy and Chilli

Serves 2

200g Conchiglie

400g Purple sprouting broccoli

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

4 anchovy fillets

A generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil

A pinch of crushed dried chilli flakes

large handful of grated parmesan

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

A dash of double cream (optional)

To prepare the purple sprouting broccoli, you do not want the stems to be too big and it is important that all the pieces are a similar size and tender. Keep the smaller shoots whole but cut the heads in half or even in quarters length-ways. Boil the purple sprouting broccoli in plenty of salted boiling water for about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh in cold water. When cold, drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling, salted water. (You can use the same water as the purple sprouting broccoli.) Two minutes before it is done, heat a frying-pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and oil, and fry until starting to colour. Remove from the heat and add the anchovies and a little water. Mash the anchovies up with a wooden spoon until they almost dissolve. Add the chilli and the drained purple sprouting broccoli. Sauté briefly, seasoning with salt and pepper, then add a few tablespoons of the pasta water or a dash of cream. Next add the cooked pasta and a large handful of grated parmesan. Stir and serve.

Wheatberry and Purple Sprouting Broccoli Salad with Crispy Fried Onions, Chilli and Garlic

So on to the second of my salads this week starring Crispy Fried Onions.  This is an absolute favourite and was a recipe which I came up with a while back for a Riverford SuperClub. You can use any number of grains instead of wheatberries but they are my favourite along with farro which I think is also known as spelt. This is when the wheat grain retains its bran and germ, which results in it being much higher in fiber and nutrients such as B3, magnesium and zinc. If you however find it a bit hard core, then you can try a pearled version or more commonly available – barley. Either way, this is a really delicious salad and well worth a try.

Wheatberry and Purple Sprouting Broccoli Salad with Crispy Fried Onions, Chilli and Garlic 1

Wheatberry and Purple Sprouting Broccoli Salad with Crispy Fried Onions, Chilli and Garlic

Serves 2

100g Wheatberries (try Merchant Gourmet) or you can use Freekeh, Farro, Bulgar or Barley

100g Purple Sprouting Broccoli

1 Fresh Red Chilli, very finely sliced

2 cloves Garlic, very finely sliced

Crispy Fried Onions and Onion Oil (see above)

Trim and cook your broccoli in plenty of salted boiling water. Remove and scatter the broccoli onto a tea towel to cool and drain. Add the wheatberries to the same water and cook for 25 minutes or so until chewy and delicious. Drain in a colander. Wipe out the saucepan and heat a little onion oil in it. Add the chilli and garlic and cook until the garlic has turned a beautiful golden brown. Immediately pour into another bowl to stop it cooking further. Use some of the oil to dress the drained wheatberries with a good pinch of salt. Add the broccoli and a handful of crispy fried onions. Pile on to a plate and top with some more crispy onions and scatter with the garlic and chilli.

Crispy Onions

Crispy Fried Onions

Thinly slice a few large onions. Cut off the top end of the onion and peel the rest of it. Slice as thin as possible. A Mandolin is really good for this or you can use a food processor. Place a saucepan on a high heat and add about an inch of vegetable oil. You don’t want to use too much oil as the more intense the flavour the better. Heat the oil to 180⁰C using a thermometer. Add the onions slowly and carefully and deep fry until light golden brown. Be careful not to burn, stirring regularly, especially in the corners where the onions will cook most quickly. Remove with a slotted spoon, straight into a colander lined with kitchen paper over a bowl. Break up any clumps and leave to crisp up. Season lightly with salt. When cool pour the oil into a bottle for further use.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli