This warm salad is rich, deeply savoury and a seriously satisfying dish
I am getting married in June. Suddenly I can't help thinking about wanting to look the bee's knees walking down the aisle. I tried on some wedding dresses this week and nearly fainted with pleasure at the corsets and the full skirts, and the sheer femininity of everything. It is amazing how good you feel when you're dolled up to the nines in beautiful clothes.
So I have made a rather late new year's resolution. Despite the manual nature of my work and my choice of transport (cycling is never really good for arriving somewhere looking soignée), I am determined to start looking after myself better. A manicure once in a while, with time enough afterwards to let the varnish dry (apparently it takes at least 25 minutes), the occasional haircut and a little healthy eating.
I like to think that I eat pretty healthily but this must include eating delicious food, and enjoying it, rather than an exercise in deprivation. I find warm salads at this time of year are a great way to get my fill of vegetables.
This salad is rich, deeply savoury and a seriously satisfying dish to eat at the weekend (make masses and leave enough for your lunchbox at work). The caramelised roast parsnips, the Caesar dressing and the soft, runny egg yolks on top are all delicious.
But it is the purple-sprouting broccoli that is the star of the show. Rich in antioxidants it may be, but it is the flavour that is really special. It somehow tastes green, that really minerally deep green that only certain cabbages, kales and chards have. I love it with the stalk cut into slivers and sautéed with the florets in olive oil, garlic, chilli and anchovies - a delectable side dish or supper in its own right when piled on to spaghetti and dressed with Parmesan.
When buying purple sprouting broccoli, look out for young, tender and vividly coloured heads with stalks that snap cleanly when broken. As with regular broccoli, freshness is everything, so avoid anything bendy or dried-out looking. It is really good in omelettes, it is a great addition to minestrone soup and makes a fun alternative to spinach in eggs florentine.