Thursday 24 April 2014

Slack but back!

O.K. I realise I have been slack with my blog because this is the first time I have ever written a post on my iMac and I have had it for at least six months, so it is time to address this situation. I don't know where the winter has gone but I do know that spring is here and I am back on my allotment in force. Potatoes in, bean poles up, first strawberries flowering, last years fennel, chard and perpetual spinach still going, thanks to an exceptionally mild winter.

Anyway, I quickly wanted to get in my favourite Purple Sprouting Broccoli recipe in, just before it bolts and goes to flower. I was particularly proud of my crop this year, especially the fact that I had actually managed to grow something that looked like it did on the packet. 

I learnt this recipe at the River Cafe. Don't be afraid of the anchovy. Only use a little and it does not taste fishy. It is more like a seasoning and along with the parmesan provides the "umami" which makes this dish so special. As with all simple recipes, it is only as good as it's ingredients so buy the best you can afford.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Pasta, Anchovy, Chilli and Garlic
Serves 4
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 dried chillies, stalks removed and deseeded if preferred, chopped
2 tbsp Really good extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
6 good quality anchovy fillets. (The best ones are in salt and need rinsing before using.)
400 g purple sprouting broccoli
350 g pasta, such as orecchiette
Lots of freshly grated parmesan

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Put on a large pan of salted water to boil. 
Cook the garlic and chillies in the olive oil in a large pan for a few minutes until the garlic is light brown. Add the anchovies, remove the pan from the heat and stir vigorously so the anchovies ‘melt’ into the oil. If necessary add a little water from the pan of boiling salted water. When the water is boiling, cook the purple sprouting broccoli – leaves and all – for about 4 minutes, until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon. Drain and roughly chop. Add to the anchovy oil and cook for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile add the pasta to the same water for about 12 minutes, or according to the packet directions, until almost cooked but a little al dente. Drain well and place in the pan with the purple sprouting broccoli. Season well and add a little more olive oil and lots of grated Parmesan to taste.

So, it is back to the allotment and although the amount of work still to do for this year seems daunting, I must not forget that a year ago it looked like this!


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