Purple sprouting broccoli is usually planted in the summer and grown over winter in mild winter areas. In spring, it sends up dozens of small florets that can be harvested over a long period. The more florets that get harvested, the more the plants seem to make. If you stay on top of it, each plant can be harvested for up to a month, but as soon as the florets are allowed to flower and go to seed, the plants finish for the season.
This vegetable has a strong flavour that pairs well with other sauces. It is first blanched in boiling water, and then chilled in ice water to halt the cooking process. At that point, if it is carefully drained and dried off, it can be frozen or stored in the refrigerator for several days before finishing this recipe. During the blanching process, purple sprouting broccoli turns bright green, while the hot water turns pinky-purple — it's a fun exercise to do with kids.
This simple vegan recipe serves two as a side course. We used Santee Organic, harvested in early April.
1 bunch (approximately 100g or 4 oz) fresh Purple Sprouting Broccoli
4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 TBSP neutral oil
1 tsp roast sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds to garnish
Bring a pot of salted water to a vigorous boil over high heat. Place the broccoli into the water and submerse it using a wooden spoon. Keep dunking it as the water returns to the boil. Once it turns bright green, and the water is purple, use tongs or a strainer to place the pieces into an ice water bath.
Drain very thoroughly, and pat dry with kitchen towel.
In a wok or large frying pan, heat the two oils over medium heat. Once hot, add the sliced garlic and quickly stir for about 30 seconds. Add the broccoli and quickly turn or stir so that it is covered in the oils.
*Note: If the oil is adequately hot, it will splatter when the broccoli is added. This will be much more dramatic if the broccoli has not been dried carefully. Be prepared with a lid or spatter guard.
Keep turning the broccoli for approximately 2-3 minutes, until it is well heated through. Move the pieces to a serving plate and pour the garlicky oil (and garlic) over top. Garnish generously with toasted sesame seeds.