Thomasina Miers' purple sprouting broccoli with avocado goddess cream: 'This wonderful dressing goes with pretty much any grilled vegetable.' Photograph: Johanna Parkin for the Guardian. Food styling: Maud Eden
The start of spring is a time to add fresh, bright flavours to green veg.
After a month of reaching for warm, comforting food, I feel as if spring is finally on its way. I long for fresh, bright flavours that will make me feel alive, and you don't get much better than broccoli spears dressed with a rich and creamy puree of avocado, lemon and herbs. Equally delicious are chargrilled wedges of green cabbage with a vibrant caper dressing, perhaps alongside some juicy, brined pork chops. Brining may sound a bit cheffy, but all it means is that you're tenderising the meat to make it more succulent, a particularly good idea with pork chops because they have a tendency to dry out.
Purple sprouting broccoli with avocado goddess cream
This wonderful dressing goes with pretty much any grilled vegetable; my children also love it with soft-boiled eggs. Avocados are in perfect season right now; if yours aren't quite ripe enough, keep them somewhere warm in a brown paper bag with a banana, to help them ripen. Serves four.
500g purple sprouting (or Tenderstem) broccoli
4 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp soy sauce
Olive oil, to drizzle
For the dressing
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
3 anchovies, chopped
2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
1 large ripe avocado, stoned and peeled
1 small bunch basil, leaves picked
1 small bunch parsley, leaves picked
Juice of lemon
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 heaped tbsp Greek yoghurt
100ml olive oil
50ml cold water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim the ends from the broccoli stalks (or use Tenderstem, in which case you won't need to do this) and cut in half lengthways. Bring a pan of salted water to a boil and blanch for three to four minutes, until tender (Tenderstem takes only two minutes). Drain and leave to steam dry.
Put the garlic, anchovies, spring onions, avocado, herbs, lemon juice, vinegar and yoghurt in a food processor and chop very fine. Add olive oil and water until the sauce is the consistency of thick yoghurt (you may need more water), season and more lemon juice if needed.
In a dry frying pan on a medium heat, toast the sunflower seeds, shaking the pan occasionally, until just golden. Stir in the soy and take off the heat. Put a griddle on a high heat (or heat the grill). Toss the broccoli in a little oil and grill lightly on all sides.
Put a big spoonful of sauce on each plate, top with broccoli, scatter over the seeds and serve at once.
Juniper-brined pork chops with grilled hispi, sage and capers
Gloriously juicy chops are a great foil for toasted cabbage wedges in a sharp caper dressing. Without the chops, they're a cracking vegetarian dish in their own right, especially if topped with a fried egg. Brine the chops for at least a day before you plan to eat them; if you really can't face it, just skip the brining. Serves four.
4 bone-in free-range pork chops
For the brine
3 juniper berries
2 bay leaves
1 dried chilli
6 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp table salt
For the cabbage
2 hispi cabbages, cut into quarters
A large handful sage leaves, shredded
2 tbsp salted capers, rinsed
The juice of lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put all the brining ingredients in a pan with 250ml water and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the salt, remove from the heat and add 750ml cold water. Pour into a plastic container, submerge the chops in the brine, cover and refrigerate for at least a day, and ideally two.
Forty minutes before you want to cook them, lift the chops from their brine, drain and place on a plate to come up to room temperature.
Put a griddle pan on a high heat (or heat an oven grill). Drizzle oil over the cabbage and season. Grill, turning regularly, for 10 minutes, until lightly charred and tender.
Meanwhile, put a large frying pan on a medium-high heat. When it's very hot, add a splash of oil and, using tongs, hold the chops upright on their fatty edge for three minutes, so fat goes golden and crisp and some of the excess renders out. Lay the chops down flat in the pan and cook for two to four minutes a side (depending on thickness) until golden brown; press the chops down with a spoon, to ensure the meat gets maximum contact with the hot pan. Transfer to a plate and keep in a warm place to rest for five minutes.
In the same pan, melt the butter on a medium heat and add the sage and capers. Fry for a minute or two, until the sage crisps up slightly, then squeeze in the lemon and season with a little salt and pepper.
Add the grilled cabbage to the pan, and toss it for a minute or two in the flavoured butter. Serve one chop a portion with a wedge each of cabbage and lemon; some mash would be good alongside, too.
And for the rest of the week...
Make extra avocado goddess cream, because it's so good dolloped on anything from grilled fish or veg to hard-boiled eggs; this dressing will even chirp up a sandwich. I usually make lots of it, because its versatility makes it so handy to have in reserve, plus it keeps for at least a week in the fridge. Make lots of the caper butter, too - it brings alive a fried egg, especially - or try tossing it through a simple supper of spaghetti with extra garlic, chilli and toasted breadcrumbs: all you need to turn that last-minute tea into a great meal is lots of grated parmesan (or grana padano) and some extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling.
Thomasina Miers is co-owner of the Wahaca group of Mexican restaurants. Her latest book, Chilli Notes, is published by Hodder & Stoughton at £25. To order a copy for £20, go to bookshop.theguardian.com
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