How to keep purple sprout broccoli purple

October 31, 2021 0 Comments

If you’re like me, you probably bought purple broccoli because you were drawn to the contrasting colors.

No doubt then, disappointment took hold of those purple heads that quickly turned dark green during cooking, making it look more or less like regular broccoli.

Then a rainy afternoon I decided to put on my ‘Heston Blumenthal’ scientist coat to see what can be done to keep those nice purple and purple florets.

I had the idea that vinegar had the answer.

If you’ve splashed vinegar on your red cabbage while cooking, you know it does amazing things with color. For the uninitiated, red cabbage changes from washed mauve to psychedelic purple.

Heavens! Makes you wonder what vinegar could do to your hair!

Anyway, let’s get back to broccoli. The first thing to know are those delicate florets, purple or otherwise, they are so easy to overcook. This is because the stems are much denser and take longer to cook. So what to do?

One way to do this is to cut up the florets and dump them into the pan at the last minute, so that both the stem and the florets are cooked to perfection. But the problem with this is that the end result does not seem so attractive.

The best way to cook tender-stemmed broccoli is to do it standing up. The broccoli, not you!

So what you need to do is gather the stems together, tie with string or a rubber band just below the florets, and dip them into a deep, narrow pot filled with boiling salted water.

The water wants to almost touch the foils, but without actually doing it. Then cover with a tight-fitting lid and boil very briefly; two minutes is all it takes.

The next step is to prepare a container with very cold water so that you can dip the broccoli in it to stop cooking.

Next, pour a splash of vinegar into a small saucepan and put on high heat. Next, grab the broccoli, shake off the water, and dip the florets in the hot vinegar, rolling until covered and … Hey, set, they’re purple again!

However, the flowers will have a vinegary taste. So what you need to do next is return them to the bowl of cold water and make a quick sugar syrup.

Discard the remaining vinegar in the skillet and replace with equal amounts of sugar and water; a tablespoon of each should make it and dissolve over high heat.

Repeat the dipping and coating process, then dip the florets back into the water one last time. Shake well, then refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve. When it comes to serving, reheat in the microwave or pour a little hot water and butter over high heat. Ready! Work done.

Yes, it is a performance and no, it is not something you want to do on a regular basis. But if you’re entertaining in style and want to show off your culinary expertise, this is the time to do it.

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