When people tell me they don’t like Brussels sprouts, my response is the same as when people say they don’t like sex:
“Oh sweetie, maybe you’re just doing it wrong!”
In some ways, I realise I’m lucky in that Brussels sprouts didn’t really appear on our table when I was a child, so I have no traumatic childhood memories of them to sully my enjoyment now. But I know that there are loads of people who have fairly strong feelings to the contrary! From a kid’s perspective, they are very green (always a bad thing!) and if they are boiled, I can see how they woudl become scary – a pot of green water into which all nutrients have been leached; a distressing cabbagey smell; and little green nuggets that are in all likelihood a but mushy and tasteless.
Hmmm – where do I sign up for those. Not.
Luckily, by the time they appeared on our dining table, we had a microwave steamer, so we used to have them steamed with butter and black pepper, and done this way I always loved them. But I can see that if you are suffering from post-traumatic sprout disorder, steamed sprouts may not be sufficiently far removed from the mushy green nuggets of your youth… So allow me to suggest something else: sautee them!
It’s quick, it’s easy, and it brings out a delicious nutty flavour that you probably never realised that Brussels sprouts even had. Plus the sprouts take on a lovely caramelly hue that is, frankly, a lot more attractive than over-boiled grey-green. And if you still have some doubters in your midst, why not add in some bacon bits to the pan (because everything is better with bacon!).
So next time you do Brussels sprouts, make sure you do it right.
- About 600g Brussels sprouts
- 4 shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- olive oil
- vegetable stock cube/powder
- Clean the Brussels sprouts and cut each one vertically in half. Finely chop the shallots and crush the garlic.
- In a large flat-bottomed frying pan, heat enough oil to cover the base of the pan. Place the Brussels sprouts in the pan, cut side down, in a single layer. Scatter the chopped shallots and garlic over the sprouts.
- When the sprouts are just starting to caramelise (you will smell them), turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
- Add enough water to just cover the base of the pan with about 1mm of water and crumble half a vegetable stock cube into the pan (I used Kallo organic vegetable stock cubes). Give the pan a good stir and then allow to steam-fry until all the liquid has cooked off and the sprouts are tender. Serve hot.