Saturday, April 26, 2008

Brussels sprouts

And gee, doesn't everybody just hate them. So named because of where they were originally grown, the Brussels sprout is hated by children, enamoured of by the bitter and unhesitatingly boiled beyond recognition by the housewives of the 1970s.
Wikipedia (remember, kiddies, not an academic reference) says that according to a survey in 2002, Brussels sprouts are Britain's most hated vegetable, and it has become a cliché there and in the United States that children dislike the vegetable. Overcooking releases sulfur compounds in the vegetables that give it a distinctive smell commonly found unpleasant. If correctly cooked, the unpleasant smell is avoided and the vegetable possesses a delicate nutty flavour.
Well, the ones I cooked last night were sulphur-free. Quite good they were, too.
I used a recipe from Feast, and changed it quite a lot. Nigella says to moosh them with chestnuts and pancetta, after precooking them. I did the precooking as she says, but forewent the chestnuts. I used brandy instead of her preferred liqueur, too. Here's my recipe.

Brussels sprouts with ham and brandy
  • your desired quantity of trimmed and scored-through-the-base sprouts

  • Cubes of ham off the bone

  • Unsalted butter

  • white pepper and a pinch of salt

  • splash of brandy

Parboil the sprouts in salted boiling water for about 4 minutes. Drain. Put a small amount of butter in the empty pan with the ham, and fry for a few minutes or until the ham is golden. Add brandy and cook off the alcohol for a minute. Throw the sprouts back in, season, and stir until the sprouts are heated through and coated with the liquid.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old posting, but I've got an amazing yet simple recipe for brussels sprouts.
First, start with small sprouts, about the size of the end of your thumb.
Wash and cut them in half the long way.
Heat some olive oil in a saute pan.
Crush in a couple cloves of garlic and stir just until the fragrance is released.
Toss in the halved sprouts and stir to coat.
Turn the sprouts cut side down and let them brown, just a little bit.
The sprouts are done when their faces are browned and they are just barely tender. They should still have some crunch. You can add slivered almonds if you like. Also salt to taste.