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Nick’s kitchen: Brussels sprouts – how to get everyone eating their greens this Christmas

Brussels sproutsBrussels sprouts and sprout tops are available in abundance at this time of year. And while they’re genuinely a stalwart of the great British winter menu, they’re also a bit of a Marmite ingredient – you either love ’em or hate them. That said, I think they get fairly bad press. It’s about time we gave these green balls of goodness some love and learned to cook and present them tastily and nutritionally. Boil them ’til they’re grey no more!

Traditionally, sprouts are boiled. Perhaps nowadays more and more people choose to steam them to retain more of their valuable vitamins. Let’s move on a step further. Here I’ve got two sprout recipes that cook them well and compliment and enhance their natural flavour while jazzing them up a bit so hopefully more of the family will eat them this year.

Treat them like cabbage

For me, the best way to eat Brussels sprouts is to treat them like cabbage. What I like to do is shred them with a sharp knife, like you would a larger cabbage. The finer the better. Then cook them quickly with rapeseed oil and chuck in some diced Alsace bacon.

Love the leaves

I also love Brussels Sprout leaves or tops, they are very different to the sprouts. They come on the top of the stalk and look a little bit like a large spinach leave. These can be shredded, but I prefer to take out the spine/core (centre piece) and keep the leaves quite large. They require blanching in boiling water before finishing and are a lovely alternative to cabbages, curly kale or spinach.

Brussels sprouts with Alsace bacon

75g      Diced and saute Alsace bacon, (or good smoked streaky)

300g    Brussels sprouts shredded

50ml    Rapeseed oil (good quality)

1x        Pinch of salt and ground white pepper

1x        Splash of water

  1. Fry the Alsace bacon in a frying pan over a medium heat until it is soft and lightly coloured brown. Reserve the bacon fat. Remove from the pan and drain on a piece of kitchen roll. Set to one side.
  2. Slice the bases off the Brussels sprouts and carefully separate the leaves, pulling them off the sprout.
  3. Place the leaves on top of each other and shred/slice finely with a sharp knife.
  4. Place the leaves with the Rapeseed oil and the reserved Alsace bacon fat in the frying pan over a medium low heat.
  5. Allow to cook for 3 minutes and stir in the diced Alsace bacon and season with salt and pepper.

 

Brussels sprout tops with almonds and nutmeg

500g    Prepped Brussels tops

75g      Toasted nibbed almonds

15g      Whole nutmeg

50ml    Garlic butter

1x        Water to blanch

1x        Pinch of salt and white pepper

 

  1. Prep the Brussels tops by removing the central spine/core, and washing quickly in cold water.
  2. Bring a large pan of water with a good pinch of salt in to the boil.
  3. Add the Brussels leaves and blanch for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from the boiling water and refreshing iced water.
  5. Dry the tops on kitchen towel.
  6. Place a medium sauce pan onto a medium-hot stove and add the garlic butter.
  7. Then add the Brussels leaves, and saute for 2 minutes until the leaves are very hot and nicely softened. They should hold their shape but be flexible.
  8. To finish grate in the nutmeg and then add the toasted nibbed almonds.
  9. Season with salt and white pepper and remove from the pan onto kitchen towel or a tea towel to drain excess fat.
  10. Serve quickly before losing any heat.

Let us know how you get on and Merry Christmas!

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