I’ve just picked my first flower spouts ever (also called Kalettes) and I’m loving the look of them. Bred from crossing kale with Brussels sprouts, they look like more like mini curly-petalled roses than the usual Brussel bullets. They have a slightly sweeter taste than either of the parents and they’re super good for you. Like the other brassicas, they’re dense with minerals and nutrients, including the powerful antioxidants, glucosinolates, with concentrations many times that found in even kale.
We sowed the seed in April and planted them against an east facing hedge in the veg garden, next to the rhubarb in a bit of shade and they’ve done well. We don’t net our kale and the Cabbage Whites usually leave most of the plants alone, but they were much more partial to the Kalettes this summer, so next year I’ll net them. You harvest them just like Brussels with a twist, to sever them from the central stem, or you can pick the whole plant in one go and take them off as you want to eat them. Then you can eat the tops of the plant too.
Like coleslaw but fresher, I’m using them to make this salad tonight. Topped with finely mandolined raw squash and some Parmesan, it’s quite dense – a little goes a long way.
Kalette, pumpkin and Parmesan salad
For 6–8 as a starter or side salad:
400g pumpkin, cut into segments, peeled and deseeded
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and black pepper
250g kalettes or Brussels sprouts (I have used a mix here, using the nutty Red Brussels sprout)
2 heaped tbsp pumpkin seeds, dry-fried
3 tbsp grated Parmesan (or 15 slivers)
Extra virgin olive oil
Using a mandolin or swivel-head potato peeler, cut the peeled pumpkin into ribbons, as thinly as possible. Place the ribbons in a bowl with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt to marinate for a few minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the kalettes or Brussels sprouts as finely as you can. Put in a bowl or on a large, shallow platter. Scatter over the marinated pumpkin ribbons and sprinkle with the seeds and Parmesan.
Season with plenty of black pepper, add a drizzle of olive oil and toss well before serving.
Thanks for reading!