Melanie Johnson shares a mouthwatering lamb recipe that goes perfectly with the new season's purple sprouting broccoli.
The vegetable is one of the finest of the early season. ‘Dress it up, dress it down: purple-sprouting broccoli is robust enough to stand up to strong flavours, yet retain its delicate taste,’ says Melanie.
One example is her dish of purple-sprouting broccoli with anchovies and chilli: simply trim some purple-sprouting broccoli, cook in the pan with olive and a few salty anchovies until they’ve lost their shape, then grate over two cloves of garlic and add some chilli flakes, with a little lemon juice and parmesan to serve.
Equally this broccoli is an ideal punchy accompaniment to a flavoursome main course such as this one:
Recipe: Slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with purple-sprouting broccoli and pistachio-and-feta gremolata
For the lamb
- 1½kg shoulder of lamb, bone in
- 30ml olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 400g purple-sprouting broccoli
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For the balsamic glaze
- 5tbspn balsamic vinegar
- 3tbspn soft brown sugar
- 2tbspn olive oil
For the pistachio gremolata
- A large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 50g pistachios, shelled and chopped
- 2tbspn olive oil
- 1 lemon, zest of and 2tbspn juice
- 150g feta to crumble
Preheat your oven to 160˚C fan/180˚C/320˚F/gas mark 4.
Place the lamb in a roasting tray and rub all over with olive oil. Make small incisions into the skin and insert garlic slices and rosemary sprigs into them. Season generously. Cover tightly with foil and roast for three hours.
Make the glaze by simply placing the ingredients in a small saucepan and reducing by half.
After three hours, carefully remove the lamb from the oven and take off the foil. Brush the glaze all over the lamb and then increase the heat of the oven to 180˚C fan/200˚C/400˚F/gas mark 6. Arrange the purple-sprouting broccoli around the lamb and return to the oven for a final 20 minutes, by which time the lamb should be falling off the bone.
To make the gremolata, simply combine all of the ingredients.
When the lamb is cooked, remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil to rest for 15–20 minutes before slicing.
Arrange the sliced lamb and purple-sprouting broccoli on a serving dish. Spoon over the gremolata and, finally, crumble over the feta.