There are many different ways to cook sprouts, my favourite method is braising, that is par-boiling in salty water for five minutes then transferring them into a frying pan to sauté. This recipe is so delicious that I must confess to scoffing the lot, by myself, in one sitting. I do like to combine Brussels sprouts with some kind of nut, whether chestnuts, pine nuts or pistachios. Nuts add a creamy earthiness that works well with the sulphurously sweet green of sprouts.
I've been told there is a genetic component to whether you like Brussels sprouts or not. Fortunately I like them.
Braised Brussels Sprouts recipe
500g Brussels sprouts, trimmed1tsp sea salt
40ml extra virgin olive oil1 clove garlic, crushedHalf a glass of white wineA handful of pistachio nibsZest of 1 lemonSalt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan on a medium heat, cover the Brussels Sprouts with boiling water and sea salt.Boil for five minutes only then strain. Prepare a frying pan, on a low to medium heat. Tip in the sprouts, then add the garlic. Stir for a few minutes then add the wine.Sauté for a few minutes, then add the pistachio nibs. Finally add the lemon zest and season to taste.Can be prepared in advance and covered with foil or reheated. But this dish is at its best served hot immediately.
Roast Brussels Sprouts on a stem
In Norfolk you see Brussels sprouts 'walking sticks' sold at the roadside. Sometimes I just roast the sticks whole. Click on this link to see the recipe.
BBQ Brussels sprouts on a skewer
This is a good recipe for people down under who are having their Christmas dinner in the middle of summer. Australia is known for Christmas on the beach but in South Africa, even further south, they will spark up the braai (Afrikaans for BBQ). Hence a BBQ recipe for Brussels sprouts!
Depending on how fresh your Brussels sprouts are, you can pre-cook them in salty boiling water for five minutes or microwave them briefly, in order to soften them. If very fresh, you can BBQ or grill the sprouts directly.
6 bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for at least half an hour before cooking
500g fresh Brussels sprouts, small size or if large, cut in half
3tbsp olive oil
1tbsp red wine vinegar
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped or dried chilli flakes
While soaking the skewers, toss the sprouts in a large bowl with the olive oil, honey, vinegar, chilli and salt.
Leave for half an hour to marinate.
Place the sprouts on the soaked skewers and place on the BBQ, turning every few minutes to make sure they are evenly grilled and slightly charred all around.
Serve hot on the skewers.
Purple Brussels sprouts
You can reduce the cabbagey taste of sprouts by cooking them in wine. I do them in both white wine and red wine. I've used both purple and green Brussels sprouts, just to add colour and exoticism to a vegetable that is often regarded as a tad dull.
4 shallots, diced
50g salted butter
1 bay leaf
clove of garlic, minced
400g Brussels sprouts, bottoms trimmed, cut in half
A glass of white/red wine
3 tbsp of pine nuts or slivered almonds (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, fry the shallots in the butter until soft, add the bay leaf and garlic then the sprouts. Add the wine, a glass or more cooking until the Brussels sprouts are tender.
Pasta with Brussels Sprouts tops
Don't forget the tops - the large cabbagey head at the top of the sticks. These can be cooked like cabbage or kale. Here I sautéed the finely chopped leaves with chilli, garlic, and almonds.
Serves 4 to 6
500g spaghetti1 tbsp sea salt3tbsp olive oil for frying2 Brussels sprouts tops, sliced finely into ribbons1 red chilli, finely sliced2 cloves garlic, mincedHandful of blanched almondsSalt and pepperExtra virgin olive oil for dressing
Cook the spaghetti in boiling salty water till al dente.In the meantime, fry the Brussels sprouts tops, chilli and garlic in the olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. At the end sling in the almonds.Drain the pasta and toss with the vegetables, adding a little more olive oil to serve.
My next supper club is on New Year's Eve. The theme is Hogmanay and the Outlander books/TV programme. I plan to serve home cured and smoked salmon, Cullen Skink soup, oatcakes and various other First Footing goodies. Bring your own champagne and whisky. Price £75.