Fiery Broccoli and Chestnut Mushroom Salad
Portion/Yield:Serves 4 as a side dish or salad
The inspiration for this recipe came from a visit to our local farmers’ market. I saw these beautiful-looking heads of broccoli cut freshly from the surrounding fields. Next to them was a box filled with plump fresh red chillies and fresh root ginger, so I felt the urge to create something delicious that combined these colourful ingredients.
I acknowledge that ingredients such as fresh chillies and root ginger are now an integral part of our everyday lives. They are definitely not native to Britain, but finding them at this very busy farmers’ market in a secluded spot in the heart of Suffolk, brought it home to me that on a daily basis we embrace the ingredients and cooking styles of many other cultures from all over the world. By doing this and by combining the ‘traditional’ with the more ‘contemporary’, we end up with a wide range of spectacular, individual and rather wonderful dishes.
As I source local organic mushrooms and broccoli, I need to use as much of each vegetable as possible, because part of our ethos is to limit the amount of food waste that we generate. Hence, in recipes such as this one, we use nearly the entire head of broccoli – florets, stalks and all.
Broccoli stalks are in fact delicious and they certainly add an extra dimension to this dish. The best part is that you end up with nearly a quarter more in volume, than if you had only used the florets – a bonus in my eyes.
Ingredients & Method
- 1 head of broccoli (about 300g total weight)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 1 large fresh mild red chilli, deseeded and cut into julienne (matchstick) strips
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 15 fresh chestnut mushrooms, quartered
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- poppy seeds, to garnish
Remove the broccoli florets from the stalk and cut them all to the same size. Cook the florets in a saucepan of boiling salted water for 4 –5 minutes or until tender. Drain, refresh in iced water, then drain again and set aside.
Peel off the outer layer from the broccoli stalk, then use a mandolin to finely slice the stalk into wafer-thin discs. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over a high heat and sauté the shallots for about 5 minutes or until golden. Add the chilli, then reduce the heat and sauté for a further 3 minutes. Add the sugar, white wine vinegar and lemon zest and stir to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil. Once the mixture starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat, add the broccoli stalk discs, stir and then transfer to a bowl. Set aside to cool and infuse.
To cook the mushrooms, wipe the frying pan clean, then heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan over a high heat, add the mushroom quarters and salt and pepper and sauté for about 8 minutes or until golden brown. Stir in the lemon juice.
Mix the sautéed mushrooms, broccoli florets and pickled broccoli stalk discs together. Arrange the salad in your chosen bowl or on individual serving plates and garnish with a sprinkling of poppy seeds. The salad is now ready to be served slightly warm, or it can be cooled and chilled before serving, if you like.