Purple-Sprouting Broccoli with Chillies & Anchovies


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    2 or 4

    as a Side Dish

Appears in

Let's Eat

By Tom Parker Bowles

Published 2013

  • About

Preserved anchovies … the secret Samaritan. A bit like the Beast or the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Ugly, feared and misunderstood. But possessing a true heart of gold.

Definitely an acquired taste when eaten raw, once cooked they somehow melt into the background, providing a savoury backbone to any dish. Fish sauce, made from fermented fish, and central to most Southeast Asian cookery, performs a similar role.

Purple-sprouting broccoli is a seasonal treat and one of the few things to emerge from the garden in the lean months of March and April. You can use normal broccoli instead, and that ‘tender-stem’ stuff they sell in the supermarket works beautifully here, too.


  • 500 g/1 lb 2 oz purple-sprouting broccoli (or regular broccoli, cut into small florets)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 clove garlic, finely sliced
  • 1 hottish red chilli (long, thin one or jalapeño), finely sliced
  • 6 anchovy fillets (those packed in salt are best, but there are some decent ones packed in oil too), roughly chopped


Steam the broccoli for 5 minutes.

Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan over a low heat, and cook the garlic and chilli very gently for about 5 minutes, making sure they don’t burn. Add the anchovies, remove from the heat and bash with a wooden spoon until you have a fine-ish mulch.

Return the pan to the heat, add the broccoli and cook gently for a further 5–7 minutes. Serve hot.