Asparagus is probably the most popular spring-time vegetable. However, as one might imagine, there are other vegetables coming into season at this time of the year. After all, we don’t live exclusively on asparagus in the way that the Irish in the nineteenth-century lived, almost comically so, on a diet composed almost entirely of potatoes. The subject of this post, purple sprouting broccoli, is one of the most interesting of the current seasonal treats. This rather attractive vegetable, or brassica to be more precise, is beautiful both inside and out. In my opinion, purple sprouting broccoli is a far more interesting ingredient than asparagus in both its taste and appearance. This variety of broccoli is also, as it happens, far cheaper than asparagus. Indeed, it works out at a little less than half the price.
Serendipitously, today marks the concluding day of the Thai New Year, or Songkran festival. It is rather strange how my discovery of purple sprouting broccoli, an ingredient known to suit Eastern flavours rather well, coincided exactly with this celebration. Obviously, the dressing which accompanies the broccoli isn’t traditional in the slightest. However, the flavour it imparts does remind one of the essences of Thai cuisine.
One thing I ought to mention is that the ‘tips’ section of frugalfeeding has returned. It has been streamlined and simplified and should help to give even those of you who are particularly well off an improved impulse to feed frugally. I hope it comes in handy.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Thai-Style Dressing
• 250g purple sprouting broccoli
• 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
• 1 lump of ginger, finely chopped
• 1 tsp dried chilli flakes, finely chopped fresh chilli would also work
• A glug of olive oil
• A drizzle of white wine vinegar
• Salt and pepper
1. Steam your broccoli gently over around half an inch of water. This should take no more than 4 minutes. If you cook it for any longer it’ll begin to lose both its flavour and its goodness.
2. Sauté the garlic, ginger and chilli gently in a generous glug of olive oil. Pour this over the cooked broccoli, season and scatter with a little white wine vinegar. Serve with pasta or steamed rice.
Cost: Despite what people may think, good ingredients can be had cheaply. The broccoli used in this recipe was top quality and grown in the UK, yet the dish only set me back £1.90 including the accompanying carbs. Using ingredients wisely really does pay off.