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Purple sprouting broccoli for breakfast

A few months ago, just when the season was right for it,  a dear friend brought me some purple sprouting broccoli fresh from her garden. It just also happened to be the weekend  and I was missing my Melbournian weekend brunches, as I often do in this small English town.

To pay for breakfast or brunch here is folly as the food is disappointing 9.5 times out of 10. So, I decided to make some myself using this lovely sprouting broccoli. A bit of google-ing and I settled on grilled purple sprouting broccoli and hollandaise sauce on a bed of sourdough and poached eggs.

Why do I post it now ? I was doing an audit of my food pictures folder and realised that I have so many things I need to write about and today, I just felt like writing about this one as it was so delicious. I’m sorry, I don’t have too many pictures of the process and next time I make this dish, I’ll be sure to take some.

Purple sprouting broccoli with hollandaise sauce over poached eggs and sourdough
Purple sprouting broccoli with hollandaise sauce over poached eggs and sourdough

Ingredients (serves 2):

A bunch of purple sprouting broccoli (~ 20 sprigs)
4 eggs (2 per person)
4 tbsp white vinegar
4 slices of sourdough bread (Got mine from Marks & Spencers)

Hollandaise sauce ingredients:

3 tbsp white wine vinegar
6 peppercorns
1 dried bay leaf
2 eggs, yolks only
125g/4oz butter
lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

Method :

1. To make the hollandaise sauce, I use this BBC Food recipe. It turned out really well – just beware that you can’t chill the leftovers and use it the next day.

2. Very quickly, you need to “stew” the peppercorns and bey leaf in the vinegar until the vinegar is reduced to 1/3 of its starting volume. You also need to melt the butter until the solids (dark brown bits) settle at the bottom of the pan. Then, you add the flavoured vinegar and egg yolks in a mini blender and blend for a few seconds. In small batches, add the melted butter to the blender and whizz for a few seconds each time. If the sauce is too thick, add some hot water to loosen it. Finish off with lemon juice, salt and pepper to suit your taste. Ta da!

3. Steam the broccoli for 1-2 mins in boiling water. Lift them out of the water and line them on a baking tray. Spray some oil on them and grill them on setting 5 for 1-2 mins on either side. The leaves are very tender and can burn easily so watch the broccoli very carefully in this step.

Beautiful broccoli
Beautiful broccoli

4. Toast your sourdough if you like or leave it as is if you don’t.

5. Poaching eggs : Everyone who eats them and likes them has an opinion on it. I learnt my technique from my Czech/Tassie housemate in Melbourne. His trick was to

(a) boil water
(b) break eggs into small bowls – 1 egg to a bowl
(c) as the water is bubbling pour in 2 tbsp of vinegar and give water a swirl with a slotted spoon
(d) as the water is still swirling, gently slide the egg into it
(e) The swirling waters will make the whites wrap themselves around the yolk.
(f) Don’t disturb the egg for 20 seconds approximately or 10 seconds longer if you like your yolks less liquidy.
(g) Using a slotted spoon, very very gently, gather all the spidery arms of egg white or albumin, along with the egg yolk covered by albumin, and lift it out of the pot. Tap the spoon in the side of the pot to remove any excess water.
(h) Your egg is ready to be served!

6. To assemble your brunch, place two pieces of toast on your plate and a poached egg on each slice. Place generous quantities of the broccoli on the eggs and finish off with a generous ladle of hollandaise sauce.

7. To eat, break open the eggs with your knife and let the golden yolks ooze all over the bread. Grab a piece of broccoli covered in hollandaise sauce, dip it in the yolks and cut a piece of bread before you gobble it all up in one mouthful.

8. If you have spare grilled broccoli, then you can eat them on their own or with some extra hollandaise sauce.

Broccoli and hollandaise
Broccoli and hollandaise


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