Probably the most hated vegetable on the planet.
The humble Brussel sprout has been subjected to all sorts of research into why some people find it so awful and others just mildly distasteful. Its apparently got something to do with your taste buds, and how you taste bitter things. Personally I hate any vegetable that’s been boiled to death. Any sweetness there may once have been is lost, boiled away like the innocence of youth subjected to the rigours of everyday life to leave a bitter and haggard old woman…I mean vegetable. Ahem.
I like to treat Brussel sprouts as mini cabbages. The mildest of blanching, and then lashings of butter either in the oven or a frying pan.
My sister has taken this one step further. And now they’re an un-refuseable vegetable. She added bacon. AND cream.
And, as with the carrots, you can get funky coloured sprouts now too. Flower sprouts are readily available in most supermarkets and several veg box schemes too.
Brussels with Bacon and Cream
Brussel Sprouts (flowery or normal), smoked streaky bacon, double cream, black pepper, nutmeg, salt.
Blanch your sprouts first. Bring a pan of water to a roiling boil with plenty of salt in it. Put the sprouts in for about 3-4 minutes. Lift the sprouts out and put them straight into cold water. This helps them retain the vibrant green of the leaves.
Once cool, slice the brussels in half or thirds. The larger the surface area the better for crispy yummy edges. In a large frying pan or wok, heat a little oil and begin cooking the bacon. Once its gone opaque add the brussels. Do not turn it over too often. The food needs prolonged contact with the hot base of the pan in order to caramelise, but not too long that it burns. Flick the mix over rather than stir it as the spoon breaks everything up and makes it mushy, not crisp. Once all the bacon and brussels have nice crispy edges, turn down the heat and add enough cream that everything is coated but there’s no puddles.
If you want to go the whole hog…add cheese. Grate a little Parmesan over the top and grill lightly to get a bit of colour. Because everything is better with cheese.