In Praise of the Brussel Sprout

Poor old brussel sprouts must be one of the most reviled vegetables ever but I, for one, adore them.

I don’t know if I was lucky enough to have a mother who didn’t boil the begeebers out of them but I have loved them since childhood and a Christmas lunch without them is utterly inconceivable!

How happy am I then that the humble brussel sprout is now finally receiving it’s justified culinary recognition.  I am surprised and delighted at the number of recipes popping up everywhere lauding these beautiful miniature cabbages – roasting them, sautéing them, shredding them and even pureeing them.

Here are a couple of my current favourite recipes featuring the little darlings courtesy of Donna Hay and Curtis Stone. If you are a brussel sprout wimp, please give one of them a go, I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Orecchietti with Brussel Sprouts and Pancetta

300g Brussel Sprouts

200g Orecchieti

8 slices of Pancetta or Streaky Bacon, diced

30g Butter

1 Garlic Clove, crushed

2 teaspoons Oregano Leaves

165ml Single Cream

2 tablespoons Lemon Juice

Finely grated Parmesan to serve

Trim the outer leaves of the sprouts and cut into quarters.  Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions or until al dente and then keep warm in the pan after draining.  While the pasta is cooking, place the pancetta into a frypan and cook until browned and crispy and then set aside.  Add the butter, garlic and oregano and cook for about a minute before adding the brussel sprouts and then cook these until just soft.  Add the cream, lemon juice, pancetta and pasta and toss until combined.  Divide between two bowls and top with the parmesan. Serves 2.


Oven-Roasted Salmon with Brussel Sprouts & Chorizo

60ml Olive Oil

100g Chorizo, diced

1 Spring Onion, diced

1 tablespoon of Lemon Zest

1 tablespoon of Lemon Juice

200g Brussel Sprouts

1/2 tablespoon of Caraway Seeds

1/2 tablespoon of Sea Salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

4 x 180g skinless Salmon Fillets

Preheat your oven to 240 deg C and in a large heavy frypan, heat the olive oil and add the chorizo.  Cook until it is nice and crisp.  Add the spring onion and lemon zest and sauté until the onions have wilted and then stir in the lemon juice.

Using a sharp knife or mandolin (watch your fingers!) slice the brussel sprouts into thin shreds and, in a bowl, toss with the warm chorizo vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.

Grind the caraway seeds with the salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle and then season the salmon generously with this mix.  Heat another heavy based frypan over high heat and add a little olive oil and place the salmon fillets in the pan.  Cook for about a minute or so and then place in the oven and roast for another 3-4 minutes until rosy in the centre.

Arrange the salmon on the brussel sprout mixture and serve.  Serves 4.



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