English season: June to November
This is a vegetable that, because it’s imported all year round, turns up far too often on restaurant menus. However, it’s good to enjoy it in season. Prepare it by cutting it into even-sized florets measuring about 2 inches (5 cm) each, then steam them till tender – 4-5 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, a little butter or a sprinkle of grated cheese to just melt into the flower heads. You can also roast broccoli tossed in a little oil and seasoning – just place in a pre-heated oven at gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C) for 25 minutes.
Alternatively, to stir-fry for 2 people: separate 8 oz (225 g) of florets into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces and slice the stalk bits into tiny diagonal slices. Stir-fry in 1 dessertspoon of very hot oil for 1 minute, then add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger and a crushed clove of garlic. Stir-fry for another minute, then add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of dry sherry. Cover with a lid and continue to cook until tender – about 2 more minutes.
Broccoli (sprouting) - February to March
After the lean winter months, the first fresh green vegetable to herald spring is sprouting broccoli, with its purple or white flowery heads. It has a lovely, sweet, very green kind of flavour and tender stalks. I like to eat the leaves, stalks and heads when it’s very young. Steam them, sprinkled with salt, for 3-4 minutes. You will need 4 oz (110 g) per person.
Chinese-style recipes are often perfect for one, because many of them are made at top speed. The trouble is that Westerners are often inclined to add a little extra cooking time, and the end result can be just that little bit overdone.
Purple sprouting broccoli has a short spring season so enjoy it to the full with this quick and easy stir-fry recipe packed with flavour and low in fat. Then, when the purple sprouting variety has gone, use standard broccoli instead.
This is something a little different to ring the changes whilst we have an abundance of sprouting broccoli. I think it goes very well with most oriental dishes or just by itself with some steamed rice.
Delia urges us to make the most of lovely purple sprouting broccoli during its short season. It lends itself beautifully to stir-frying, as in this Chinese recipe.
The great thing about stir-fries is speed, and the great thing about turkey stir-fries is that the meat is already trimmed and prepared.