Chargrilled sprouting broccoli with labneh and toasted walnuts and cumin

This is the first recipe to use the labneh I made a couple of weeks ago. The smoky charred broccoli, nuts and cumin work wonderfully with rich, creamy and tangy labneh. Sprouting broccoli is in season right now but you can occasionally get it in late summer/early autumn, in which case this could be great done on the barbecue.

Serves 2 (as part of main course)

Ingredients

12–14 stems of sprouting broccoli; 100 g labneh; 2 cloves garlic; 4 walnuts, shelled and roughly chopped; 2 tsp cumin; lemon juice; sea salt flakes; black pepper; olive oil

Preparation

Slice the garlic thinly then place in a bowl with about 1 tbsp of olive oil, some salt and pepper and 1 tbsp of lemon juice.

Remove the tough outer leaves from the broccoli and cut off the woody bases of the stems. Blanch the stems for about 2 minutes in boiling salted water, drain well and while still hot, place in the bowl with the garlic (the hot broccoli will partly cook the garlic) and the olive oil and lemon juice.

Get a frying pan really hot then toast the cumin seeds until they are giving off a good smell, but don’t burn them. Remove the cumin seeds and place the walnut pieces into the same pan. Toast these but, again, don’t let them burn. Set aside.

Get a ridged griddle pan really, really hot, until it’s pretty much smoking (you’ll probably want to open a window). Place the broccoli onto the pan and make sure it gets some clear char marks all over. Just before it’s done throw the garlic slices over the top to cook for just a few seconds and then put everything back into the bowl of lemon juice and olive oil.

To serve, lay the broccoli spears onto a plate and dress with the garlic slices, bite-sized pieces of labneh, the walnuts and cumin and a little of the olive oil and lemon juice. This makes a complete meal with a simple rice or bulgur pilav, and also works well as part of a meze selection.

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