Purple Sprouting Broccoli Gratin with Parmesan

Purple Sprouting Broccoli is at its very best between February and April; the stems are edible too so no throwing them away please!  Easy to prepare and cook, just trim any woody stem ends with a sharp knife and slice though thicker stems so it cooks evenly.  Rinse under cold water then either boil for around 5-7 minutes or steam for around 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of floret.

I prefer to steam broccoli as it keeps its colour and also the vitamins are preserved rather than washing them down the drain after cooking.  Once cooked season with a little sea salt and it is truly delicious with butter a knob of butter and a squeeze of lemon juice.


A bit naughtier but nice way to serve is to make my gratin with garlicky cream topped with crispy crumbs and Parmesan.

Brocolli Gratin

Purple sprouting broccoli can also be used in a quiche and is great in pasta dishes too.  Another  favourite way is to do as Nigel Slater suggests; in a shallow pan, fry a little garlic and torn pancetta in olive oil.  Add the purple sprouting broccoli which will take just 3 or 4 minutes to come to tenderness.  Add a scattering of Parmesan, grated finely, over the top and serve with thickly cut bread and butter.
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Serves 2

200g purple sprouting broccoli - washed and ends of stalks trimmed
olive oil
1 fat clove of garlic - peeled and very finely chopped
250ml double cream
1 slice of bread whizzed into breadcrumbs
sea salt and black pepper
a handful of freshly grated Parmesan

Start by lightly toasting the breadcrumbs in a dry frying pan over a low to medium heat.  Stir to keep them moving so they don't burn.  Once done set aside.

Using the same frying pan add a glug of oil (about a tablespoon) and cook the garlic over a low heat.

Add in the cream, let it bubble for a couple of minutes until it reduces by about a third. Season with a little salt and black pepper and turn off the heat.

Time to preheat the grill.

Now steam the broccoli for about 6 minutes until the stalks are tender.  Season with a little sea salt and lay them in a gratin dish.

Reheat the cream mixture till it bubbles and then pour over the broccoli.  Top with the breadcrumbs and the Parmesan and a sprinkling of nutmeg.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and pop under the grill for about 5 minutes until bubbling and golden.  Serve immediately.

I find the best grill option to use on my Stoves oven for this and similar dishes is the conventional grill setting; it browns food from the top, quickly and evenly.  The conventional grill must always be used with the door open.

The fanned grill option allows air to circulate around the food and is better for thinner foods such as bacon, fish or steaks and should be used with the oven door closed.

More information on Stoves products can be found by popping over to the Stoves website.

Disclosure:  I am in a partnership with Stoves who supplied and fitted an oven and hob for review.  I created this recipe for them and did not receive any other payment.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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