Sprouting Broccoli with Vinegar-Miso-Chilli Butter

A handful of store-cupboard ingredients turn a simple green vegetable into, frankly, an addictive substance

Humans are said to distinguish five key tastes: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami (sauvoriness).* One of the key appeals of many popular cuisines, such as Thai or Middle Eastern, is the way they combine all of these flavours in every meal, often every dish. The synergy just makes sense to our palates.

In this recipe, a simple pan sauce brings together salty miso (enhanced by fatty butter), sour vinegar, the pleasant pain of spicy chilli, and a hint of sweetness. It's the perfect way to complement the gentle green bitterness of the roasted sprouting broccoli. Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes c. 4 portions as a side dish):

  • 4 good handfuls of green or purple sprouting broccoli
  • c. 1 tbsp vegetable oil or light olive oil
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp red or white miso
  • good pinch of chilli flakes (to taste), optional
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Artisan Malt Vinegar

Method:

Wash and dry the broccoli, then toss with a small amount of oil until very lightly coated. Spread on a large, lined baking sheet and roast until lightly crisped in a medium oven (150-180 C). It should take around 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the miso and butter in a saucepan and melt while whisking. Add the chilli if using and cook until everything is nicely combined. Then, add the vinegar bit by bit, continuing to whisk, until the sauce reaches your desired consistency (you want it to be liquid but not watery). Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve the broccoli drizzled liberally with the miso butter.

* There are reports that a sixth taste may have been discovered: ammonium chloride. It's a white, odourless powder used in batteries, Zinc tinning, and fertilisers, among other industrial applications. Harmful to humans in more than small quantities, its taste is apparently detectable in Scandinavian liquorice. The more you know!

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