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Purple sprouting broccoli with burnt anchovy butter

There is one thing I will miss about winter: purple sprouting broccoli. It is one of my favourite vegetables of the season. I have been eating it tossed in a little burnt anchovy butter every other week. 

Natoora source their purple sprouting broccoli from Martin Sanders in Worcestershire. His family have been growing it for many generations. They save the seeds from the best plants, which improves the quality of the crop with each passing year. The result is a purple sprouting broccoli with tight, dense florets, tender leaves and high sugar content in the stems.

Salty, nutty anchovy butter contrasts well with the broccoli’s sweet and tender leaves and stems. This dish is perfect as a side for a meaty main, especially roast lamb. You can also add a poached egg and have it as a light lunch or chop up the broccoli and toss it through pasta. 

Serves 4 as a side.


350g purple sprouting broccoli
50g butter
8 anchovies, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper


Put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil.

Trim the bases of the broccoli stems. At the base of any of the thicker stems, cut a slit through the middle; this is so that all the stems cook at a similar speed.

On a chopping board or flat surface, mash the anchovies with a fork.

Put a saucepan or frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter. It is best if you can see the colour of the butter changing, so avoid a dark coloured pan. Melt the butter then continue cooking until it has turned a golden brown and gives off a nutty, biscuit-like smell. 

Add the anchovies to the butter and stir until they have dissolved into the butter. Remove from the heat.

When the water comes to the boil, add the broccoli. Cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until tender. Drain and toss in the anchovy butter. Serve immediately.

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Reader Comments (1)

Ha!! Mother used to love purple sprouting broccoli , and cooked it for us as kids. If only she had known about this recipe! What we got was soggy bitter pulp. This sounds wonderful . I'm on to it !

March 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMa

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