Seasonal greens with crushed peppercorns

The three types of peppercorns here add different qualities – spice, perfume, astringency, pungency – but they’re mellowed and brought together by the cream. I haven’t gone to extremes with the heat, so turn it up (or down) a notch by adding more (or less) white pepper. The pilaf is optional; egg noodles, peczak, crushed potatoes or rice work well. I could not get sprouting broccoli nor savoy cabbage – used kale and normal broccoli instead and worked out just as well..I also used green peppers in place of Sichuan – i am not sure what value i lost, but nobody complained..

Przygotowanie jarzyn jest troche marudne, to fakt – nie jest to szybkie danie – ale smakowite, jesli kucharz nie narzeka

Serves four.

  • 400g purple-sprouting broccoli
  • 300g savoy cabbage (about half a medium cabbage)
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 10g chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Sichuan pepper
  • 350ml double cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp pink peppercorns

For the barley pilaf

  • 200g pearl barley, washed
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced

Start with the pilaf.

  1. Simmer the barley in water for 25 minutes until almost done, then drain.
  2. Put the oil, butter and onions in a big saucepan and sauté over medium heat for 15 minutes, until the onion is soft and golden brown.
  3. Stir in the barley and 180ml of water, bring to a boil, cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.

Now the veggies:

  1. Remove any large leaves from the broccoli and trim off the woody bases.
  2. Cut any particularly thick stems into two or three pieces lengthways.
  3. Cut the cabbage into 2cm-wide strips.
  4. Blanch the cabbage in boiling water for a minute, drain, refresh in cold water and leave to dry.
  5. Repeat with the broccoli, but cook it for up to four minutes, until tender but still retaining some crunch.
  6. Put the butter and oil in a big sauté pan, add the shallots and ginger, and cook gently.
  7. Lightly crush the white and Sichuan peppercorns in a mortar, then add to the pan.
  8. Cook for five minutes, until the shallots are soft.
  9. Add the cream and salt, and bring to a gentle simmer (if you like, add a little water to loosen the cream – this helps it easily coat the veg).
  10. Stir in the broccoli and cabbage, taste and add salt as necessary.

To serve, spoon the barley into shallow bowls and spoon the vegetable mix over. Lightly crush the pink peppercorns and sprinkle on top.


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