Thursday, March 4, 2021
March 4, 2021

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Brussels sprouts hit their stride

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Brussels sprouts have long been the black sheep of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables closely related to kale, cauliflower, and mustard greens.

Their reputation for being bitter, soggy, and foul-smelling stemmed from the way they were prepared — boiled and overcooked. Thanks to creative chefs, this nutritious and delicious vegetable is now getting the attention it deserves.

Chefs are cooking Brussels sprouts using every method imaginable — sauteing, braising, grilling and roasting.

Raw Brussels sprouts make a delicious salad. Simply shred or thinly slice the sprouts using a food processor slicing disc, mandoline or sharp knife, and combine with chopped kale, sliced apples, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, grated Parmesan cheese, and toss with your favorite tart dressing.

My favorite way to prepare them is to roast until crisp, caramelized and golden brown on the outside, and sweet and tender on the inside.

These would be lovely with grilled, steak, chicken or pork; or if serving on their own drizzled with blue cheese or balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, or for an Asian twist, Teriyaki sauce.

Start with bright green sprouts without any brown spots or yellow leaves. Buy them on the stalk if possible (they look like tiny cabbages circling a 20-inch stalk) because they will be tender and sweet. On the stalk or boxed they will keep for about a week in the refrigerator vegetable drawer.

To make roasted Brussels sprouts, remove the outer leaves and discard any woody stems at the bottom of the sprouts. Cut larger sprouts in half, leaving smaller ones whole. Toss with olive oil and seasoning, place them cut side down in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and roast at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. They are done when the bottoms are caramelized and can be pierced easily with a fork.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Sour Cream and Kumquat And Chilli Relish

Yield: Serves 4.

Adapted from “Always Add Lemon” by Danielle Alvarez, Hardie Grant Books ($35).

Kumquats are in season right now, but if you can’t find them, grated orange rind and orange segments cut into 1/2-inch pieces can be substituted.

1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved

Olive oil for coating sprouts

10 sweet kumquats 1 long red chilli

1 tablespoon flat-leaf (Italian) parsley leaves, finely chopped

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

¼ cup sour cream, thinned with some milk or water, to drizzle

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the Brussels sprouts in enough olive oil to coat them, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread them out on a baking tray lined with baking paper and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until well browned and crispy.

To make your relish, thinly slice the kumquats, removing any seeds as you go. Give them a rough chop. Thinly slice the chilli (removing the seeds if you don’t like things too spicy) and combine with the kumquat. Mix that all together with the chopped parsley and the extra-virgin olive oil with a good pinch of salt.

Spread the Brussels sprouts on a platter and drizzle with the sour cream. Sprinkle the relish over the top and serve warm or at room temperature.

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