Seasonal Meat Cooking in March
By Sam Wass, Medium Well
March isn’t exactly a month noted as prolific for British food, and meat is possibly even less noted. Livestock farmers focus is on preparing for lambing, and getting cattle ready to go back outside into onto the fields. There are usually some great bargains to had around this time of year, as retailers compete for Easter footfall and post-New Year saving plans begin to waive. Lamb in particular comes in for some aggressive pricing, but as we’ve mentioned before spring isn’t necessarily the best time to buy seasonal British Lamb.
March is pretty much in between seasons for vegetables and fruit as well, but there are still some gems to be found for the seasonal chef. There are still plenty of good winter cabbages, cauliflowers and roots around but arguably the not-to-be-missed veg that shows up around March time is the somewhat underrated purple-sprouting broccoli.
Purple sprouting broccoli is available virtually all year but is at its best in March-April time. It is a deep green-purple colour and is somewhat leafier than normal broccoli. Many growers and professional chefs view it in a similar way as asparagus, serving it almost as simple finger food to dunk into butter or hollandaise sauce. It’s tricky to grow it right, as it is time consuming cutting new flowery stems regularly, so look around to get the best produce you can. You want slender stems and leaves with a good colour, as thicker stalks can be woody.
The big caveat about purple-sprouting-broccoli, is that it is really nothing like standard broccoli, it’s much more versatile and much tastier served simply either on its own or as an accompaniment to poultry or fish. The most obvious way of cooking it is to boil it for 3-4 minutes, however we’d advice you to steam it if you can, as that brings out the flavour more and keeps it nice and al-dente.
Wild garlic is another fairly unknown culinary classic available in March. It grows pretty prolifically in Britain’s dark woodlands, as it prefers the damp shade. As with any foraging ingredient you need to know what you’re looking for, and if you have any doubts don’t use it, or ask an expert to help you out, as they’ll help you to recognise the green leafy herb for what it is. It is milder than commercially farmed garlic, and looks and tastes more like chives and as such it lends itself well to soups and sauces, as it is mostly used for leaves, which can be eaten raw or cooked.