Broccoli (calabrese)

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.

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