by Alastair Little

Purple sprouting broccoli can be a cheap and cheerful ingredient for early spring dinners and goes brilliantly with anchovy and chilli.

Main course

Buyer's guide

The UK purple sprouting broccoli season runs from January to May. Modern hybrids are bred to extend the season, but they tend to be tough and tasteless. Purple sprouting broccoli should look fresh, firm and healthy, not dry or wrinkled. The spears should snap cleanly and the florets should show no sign of yellowing.


Store in the bottom of the fridge and eat within a few days of purchase. To freeze, spread the washed florets onto a baking tray. Cook from frozen.


Boiled or steamed, purple sprouting broccoli makes an excellent side dish tossed in butter or oil. Or serve them in a sauce with pasta or as a starter, covered in hollandaise.