Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Tarragon Recipe

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On the Side A sourcebook of inspiring side dishesThis, quite probably, is the side I cook most often, and the first one I think of to go with lamb or white fish. Once you tune into it, the match of iron-y purple sprouting broccoli and anise-heavy tarragon is hard to turn from. In fact, I’m not sure I even liked tarragon before I ate it with broccoli, and now I can’t stop using it; if you have the same response, try adding it to spring greens, tenderstem broccoli, green beans or asparagus.

In this instance I prefer to steam the broccoli a little beyond al dente, so that it’s juicy and floppy but not yet dulled in colour; and to be liberal with the herb, the oil and the black pepper. It’s perfectly fine to boil it instead (see here) but steaming seems to keep things particularly green.

  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
  • Cooking Time: 15 Minutes


  • 600 g purple sprouting broccoli
  • Leaves from 12 stems tarragon, roughly chopped
  • ½ lemon juice and finely grated zest
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to Make It
  1. Trim any woody ends off the purple sprouting stems. Cut the leaves from the stalks and any little florets branching from the main stalk (these cook more quickly and go in the steamer later).
  2. Prepare a steamer or pan of boiling water with a steamer basket on top. Once the water is boiling, add the main broccoli stems and cover with a lid. After 4 minutes, add the little florets and leaves, then steam for 3–4 minutes more, deliberately going just beyond al dente (Cooking it directly in boiling water will take less time.)
  3. Remove the broccoli and put it in a serving bowl, then add the tarragon, lemon zest, plenty of salt and black pepper. Pour the lemon juice and oil over the top and toss thoroughly but gently, so all pieces are well dressed. Serve immediately.

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