Cabbages, spinach, broccoli and delicious sprouts
We all know that we should eat our greens. It makes total sense; these winter vegetables are good for us, reasonably priced and – very important – taste delicious. Here’s my guide to these with some recipe suggestions for you to try at home.
When it comes to choosing broccoli, look for heads which are a deep green colour, avoiding ones that are turning yellow. In the late winter and early spring, look out for trendy purple sprouting broccoli, which both looks and tastes great. Chop into florets, steam and toss through olive oil with a touch of fried garlic or ginger. For a great family meal, try broccoli cheese instead of cauliflower cheese. Tenderstem broccoli makes a great side dish for steak. By the way, have you tried my Steak Challenge yet?
These small, tightly-packed bundles of flavour deserve to be eaten more often than just on Christmas Day. Steam until just tender, then fry with bacon and shallots for a great vegetable side dish and don’t forget the joys of bubble and squeak . . .
There are many, many different cabbages to choose from: look for fresh-looking cabbages that haven’t got wilted leaves. I often use cabbage in soups. Try my recipes for Rustic Vegetable Soup or Bacon, Lentil and Cabbage Soup – both hearty winter soups that are a meal in themselves.
As its name suggests, this has a pointed shape, making it easy to spot. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavour and is good simply shredded and cooked in a covered pan with a little water and a touch of olive oil until just tender, a matter of minutes.
Firm-textured and mild-flavoured, this lends itself to coleslaw.
One of my favourite cabbages, this deep green, full-flavoured cabbage makes a great vegetable side dish. Shredded, steamed Savoy cabbage is delicious mixed with mashed potato and fried onion to make Colcannon.
Rich-flavoured and firm-textured, kale can be shredded and added to hearty soups or braised with strong flavourings such as garlic, bacon, chilli or rosemary.
High in iron, this is an elegant green vegetable. Have a look at my recipe for Simple Spinach with Horseradish in White Sauce, which gives spinach a horseradish kick. The Italians serve sautéed spinach – cooked spinach fried in a little olive oil which has been flavoured with garlic – simple but very good. Try it.