Serves 2 as a starter
The idea for this recipe comes from Jane Grigson (who believed broccoli to be the finest vegetable in the brassica family) although the sauce itself is adapted from the Leith’s Fish Bible. Maltaise Sauce is a variation on a classic hollandaise sauce using blood orange instead of the customary lemon juice or vinegar. I’ve added toasted cumin seeds as they lend the sauce a slightly smokey flavour. Although this sauce is delicious it’s unusual colour means it looks a little less than appetising. This is definitely an example of where something tastes far better than it looks!
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 blood orange (if you can’t find a blood orange a regular small orange will suffice)
- 2 large egg yolks
- A small knob of butter
- salt and white pepper
- 110g unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes
- Salt, cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon to season
- 200g sprouting broccoli
- Place a frying pan over a medium to high heat and toast the cumin seeds until fragrant and just starting to crackle. Lightly crush the toasted seeds with a pestle and mortar until roughly ground.
- Mix the orange zest, juice, egg yolks and the small knob of butter in a glass bowl. Place over a small pan of barely simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until can feel a slight change in resistance and the mixture has begun to thicken.
- Begin adding the butter one cube at a time, beating until the mixture has thickened after each addition. Once you can see a noticeable difference in the texture of the sauce you can start adding two to three cubes at a time. However, make sure the sauce has thickened after each addition before you add more butter.
- Once all the butter has been incorporated stir in the roughly ground cumin seeds. Season the sauce with salt, a little cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon. The sauce should hold over a a bowl of warm water (not simmering) while you cook the broccoli. If it starts to separate beat it vigourously until it has returned to the correct consistency.
- Steam the broccoli for 5 – 7 minutes (depending on the thickness of the stems). I use my asparagus steamer for this to keep the heads furthest away from the heat but any steamer will work.
- Serve the broccoli immediately with the Maltaise sauce spooned over it or with the sauce served separately in a bowl for dipping.