Spring superstars: Annie Bell’s purple-sprouting broccoli with poached egg & anchovy

Purple-sprouting broccoli tastes so good when it is griddled and served with a poached egg. This makes for a real treat of a brunch or light supper.

broccoli and poached egg
Ellis Parrinder


400g-450g purple-sprouting broccoli
8 salted anchovy fillets, thinly sliced
1 tsp finely chopped red chilli
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for griddling
A slug of cider or white wine vinegar
4 large eggs
Thick slices of toast, to serve

  1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Trim the broccoli stalks where they toughen and halve them lengthways if they are thick. Boil for 3 minutes so they retain some bite, then drain using a colander and shake a few times to get rid of excess water, then set aside. Refill the pan with water, bring to the boil then cover and keep on a low heat ready to poach the eggs.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing by combining the anchovies, chilli, lemon juice and oil in a small bowl. (You can cook the broccoli and make the dressing an hour or two in advance if wished.)
  3. 15 minutes before eating, heat a ridged griddle pan over a medium-high heat. Toss the broccoli in a large bowl with a little oil to coat it and a little seasoning, then griddle the spears for about 2 minutes on each side until charred in places. You will probably need to do this in two batches.
  4. A few minutes before the broccoli is ready, poach the eggs. Acidulate the water with a slug of vinegar, keep it at a trembling simmer and gently stir it into a whirlpool. Break in the eggs one at a time. After about 2 minutes they may rise to the surface, but cook them for 2 minutes longer until the white is set but the yolk still soft. Remove them to a bowl using a slotted spoon, trimming off the tendrils of white against the side of the saucepan.
  5. Pile the broccoli on to thick slices of toast, place the eggs on top and spoon over the dressing.

Recipes: Annie Bell. Photographs: Ellis Parrinder. Food styling: Lou Kenney. Styling: Charlie Phillips