What a unexpected surprise this lunch was. Seasonal in colour and comforting to eat. Extraordinarily melting broccoli – slowly confitted in olive oil, with anchovies, garlic and chilli. By confiting, the broccoli bursts with soaked up flavours. Caramelised onion purée, subtly both sweet and savoury. Black radish, thinly sliced and salted to draw out the pepperiness. Finished with a scattering of chewy golden sultanas and toasted almonds. Served with some griddled bread, so you could spoon on the broccoli or drag it through the purée.
adapted from Roy Finamore ‘s – Broccoli Cooked Forever.
Methodically cut your broccoli separating the florets and keeping as much of the stalk as possible. Cook for 5 minutes in salted boiling water. Drain and keep aside. In a frying heat 150ml of olive oil to a medium heat. Add 3 or 4 finely chopped anchovy fillets, and thin slices of garlic. The anchovy fillets melt into the oil, but some little chunks do remain, so to remove the bits – strain the oil through a sieve, forcing the large bits through with a spoon. Put the oil back into the pan and reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Throw in the broccoli. Season well with chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Then cover the pan with a lid. The idea is to slow cook the broccoli for an hour or two. Turn occasionally, but be careful towards the end of the cooking as the broccoli is mushily delicate.
While the broccoli is confiting you can make the onion purée the normal way (slow), or the modernist super-charged way with a pressure cooker (FAST). Basically, cut thin slices of onion, scoop into pressure cooker, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, fresh thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Put the lid on the pressure cooker, and come back five minutes later to lovely liquidy caramelised onions. Blitz in a blender.
Black radish is very peppery, and the intention was to serve this raw on the dish, so I covered the thin slices with a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of sugar. Leave for 10 minutes until the radish has absorbed all the salt/sugar. You can either pat down the radish to wipe away the excess liquid or quickly rinse. Try one slice each way and taste to see which tastes better to you.
Golden Sultanas soaked in 50:50 hot water/cooking marsala for 20 mins until plumped up. Toast almond fakes in a dry frying pan until lightly browned.