Nobody is more surprised than me by my current emotion (well OK, maybe my Mum will be a bit more surprised than I am if she’s reading this). I’m upset because …. march is the end of the brussels sprout season!
Sprouts are a fabulous winter source of vitamin C and being so readily available locally meant that this winter just seemed like the time to put previous prejudice aside and give them another try. I’ve always hated brussels sprouts, but a couple of factors have won me round. First and foremost, sprouts are just tastier than they used to be – growers have been working hard to come up with sweeter tasting varieties (if you don’t believe me, well then that’s all the more reason to give them another try). Secondly, the blogosphere has sprouted some amazing recipes over the last couple of winters. If you look closely at the recipes they all have one quality in common; the sprouts are at no time be cooked using water. Therein lies the top tip – if you want to learn to love sprouts in all their glory then you need to start by steering well clear of anything boiled or microwaved.
Heidi’s golden crusted spouts recipe dusted with cheese was the deal clincher for me, after which I have progressed swiftly through cheesy pasta sauces and on to virtually undisguised sprouts in healthy stir fries. Still to come is the ultimate pinnacle of sprout acceptance, the raw sprout (roll on the first frost of winter 2008).
Five recipes to make you love brussels sprouts
Start with Heidi’s golden crusted sprouts and work your way through. Not a recipe but useful for those who have been willfully avoiding sprouts is Vegan Yum Yum’s article on How to Buy and Prep Brussels Sprouts
- Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts Recipe Heidi at 101 cookbook
- Pasta with Hashed Brussels Sprouts and Pine Nuts Molly at orangette
- Brussels sprouts with spiced breadcrumbs recipe by Tom Norrington-Davies (channel 4)
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe with Balsamic, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts by Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen
- Caramelized strips of tofu served over sauteed shredded brussels sprouts Heidi at 101 cookbooks
- Brussels sprouts and tofu by Yotam Ottolenghin and ably tested by Wendy
My contribution to the sprout lexicon is testament to my new found love of the little chaps; so enamoured have I become that my standby lunch over the winter has been a stir fry of shredded fresh sprouts with chilli, ginger and egg. Provided that you cook a little extra rice the evening before this dish can be on the table in 10 minutes.
Recipe for Brussels sprout stir fry with egg, chilli, ginger and garlic
Add some tofu, quorn, chicken or prawns for a more substantial meal. Easily vegan without the egg.
Serves 1, more as a side dish
A big handful brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
Two thirds of a cup of brown rice, cooked and cooled
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
A knob of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp olive oil or rapeseed oil (vegetable oil)
1 medium egg, briefly whisked with a fork
Optional: a dash of soy sauce or a few drops of sesame oil
Heat 1 tsp of the olive or rapeseed oil in a deep sided frying pan. Fry the garlic, chilli and ginger for about one minute.
Add the sprouts and continue cooking on a medium to high heat until the sprouts just being to color.
Add the remaining oil followed by the rice. Cook unti the rice is thoroughly heated through.
Make a small clearing in the middle of the pan and pour in the egg. Let the egg sit undisturbed for 30 seconds (it will begin to set) and then stir through the rice and sprouts. Serve as soon as the egg is cooked, adding the sesame oil or soy sauce at the end if using.