Watching a head of broccoli (Brassica oleracea) on a grocer’s shelf isn’t much of a spectator event, but watching one come slowly to fruition in your own garden is fine entertainment, the intrigue and expectation rising with each daily episode. You want it to become as big as it will get, but not to burst into actual flower. And you want to do it justice because it has been the star of a show before it even got to the kitchen.
And then the thinking starts about how broccoli is a flower bud, and how you have been enjoying flowers in salads of late from the calendula (Calendula officinalis), marigold (Tagetes sp.) and nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) you planted as companions and the rocket (Eruca sativa) that has rocketed on all winter out the front. Capers (Capparis spinosa; more flower buds) and honey (bee-processed flower juice) could go in a fresh mayonnaise, mixed over the steamed broccoli and the whole thing strewn with petals. Deep-fried onion flowers (actual flowers, not where you cut an onion so that it looks like a bloom) come out a bit bitter and are dusted on top only very lightly. It is the last day of winter, but spring is well and truly here.