18 May 2011

sprouts !

So, tonight was the night ! Tonight was the night that I re-visited the brussel sprout for the first time in my adult life.

Like many others of my generation, I was served boiled brussel sprouts when I was a kid. This is, clearly, not the way to eat brussel sprouts. In fact, it should be completely BANNED -  it can onnnly end in bitter disaster.

During dinner at Orto recently (new local), I enjoyed their side of brussel sprouts, carrot puree + other things. Without a hint of the acridity that I remembered of the brussel sprouts of my childhood, I really enjoyed the freshness of the vegetable + felt like this could be a new taste of autumn.

I thought I would share what I did with the sprouts tonight  -  it was simple, tasty + made for a quick (and v seasonal!) midweek meal.

If you're a market go-er, try and get the little green gems at the markets over the coming weeks - direct from the farmer, they are so fresh + have often been so delicately handled, they are a complete delight.

sprouts with parsnip mash
(this would, of course, also work with a buttery potato mash.)

Slice leek + soften in the pan with olive oil. Place halved brussel sprouts in pan, cut-side down. Place lid on and allow sprouts to soften. After a few minutes, take off lid and leave on low-med heat to allow to caramelise. Increase heat and add sliced smoked ham (or similar) and toss. After a minute or so, add pieces of (FRESH) walnuts + toss. Keep on heat for a few more minutes to allow flavours to mingle. Check for seasoning.

The mash is completely based on Maggie's mash that was in the first MasterChef masterclass. 
Grate the parsnip + put in a pan with some butter + a little salt. Put on lid and cook on medium heat until soft. Add small amount of water, replace lid + continue to cook until parsnip starts to break down + is very soft. Check for seasoning + stir through small cubes of (beurre bosc!) pear.

Take out your (pre-warmed) favourite wintry comfort food bowl, add hot parsnip mash + a generous spoonful of the sprouts over the top. 

Leeks should be verrry sweet, embracing all the other autumnal delights in a delicious celebration of the humble sprout ! Makes for cosy eating - enjoy. 


MissPiggy said...

I still cannot bring myself to try brussel sprouts after the boiled horrors of my childhood. I remember one night taking about 3 hours to try and eat just 2 sprouts...shudder!

tanja said...

that is v funny - i have many very similar memories ! not being allowed to leave the table until the 3 horrors before me had been consumed... ergh ! but, let me promise you - I had no regrets going back.. there's a real wholesomeness about them, as well as their capacity to actually be delicious!! : )

Anonymous said...

Tanja. Have you tried the sprouts tossed in rendered pancetta (diced) on the heat, then adding pine nuts and dried cranberries (or dried cherries) and popping it all into the oven for a bit? All that latent sweetness in the sprouts + salty crispy pancetta and the plumping dried fruit (the water in the sprouts seems to plump them nicely without adding extra liquid) makes an awesome autumnal (particularly around Thanksgiving, now that I'm US based) side.

tanja said...

Hello Anonymous - I love this tip, thank you ! I think Thanksgiving is coming up, I can only imagine the culinary delights this season must have to offer !