Have you tried Sprout tops – these crowning glories are delicious – incredibly versatile and can be eaten through to the end of season in March. They are full of flavour with a hint of brussel sprout but with the texture of spring greens. Try shredded then lightly sautéed and combined with leftover mash with roast meats; fry with garlic and wild mushrooms on toast. Toss in oil and roast until some of the leaves are crisp and golden. Or keep it simple and steam until just wilted, top with butter and sprinkling of sea salt.
With storms in Southern Europe affecting so many imported crops of salads, courgettes, peppers and aubergines and pushing up prices it makes sense to cook with other British vegetables that are readily available and at their best in season:
Jerusalem artichokes – inexpensive and versatile they vaguely look like a ginger root with a pale brown knobbly skin and have a sweet nutty flavour a bit like other artichokes, though have nothing to do with Jerusalem. Highly nutritious as rich in inulin, a carbohydrate linked with good intestinal health due to it’s prebiotic properties (though may cause wind!), also vitamin C and potassium – a good source of iron.
Try them raw in salads, roasted with rosemary, lemon and bay with the Sunday joint; cook with shallots to accompany sausages and mash, steam or fry with mushrooms to accompany shellfish and out of all the season’s veg, they make a great mash – silky and light almost like a purée.
Don’t forget cauliflower, put raw in the food processor to make rice, parsnips wonderfully sweet when roasted and carrots for some colour; also available on stalks are sprouts as well as the kale florette – these baby purple kale are so good – just snap off, quickly steam and add with smoked salmon or chicken to pasta for a speedy supper.
Do grab a pound or two of our wonderful British veg when you’re next in the shop.