This is the type of dish that I want to force feed to people who say they don't like the Brussels sprout. (Can I briefly interject here to say that I only just learned that it is in fact Brussels sprout and not, as I previously thought, brussel sprout? Oh dear, I think I've just revealed myself to be an idiot) I digress... Sprouts, when cooked this way, are sweet, sticky, frazzled and crispy. Yes, they are bitter, but in a gorgeous way, like, say, chicory. In fact, it was a chicory based salad that I looked to for inspiration when thinking what I could do with my bag of sprouts. I make a blue cheese, chicory and walnut salad that is tossed in a sweet Jerez sherry vinegar dressing which sets off the creamy / crunchy / bitter combination perfectly. In this salad the sprouts have replaced the chicory as the bitter element. The fact that they are steamed then caramelised in a pan (great way to cook them by the way as a side dish - just add a squeeze of lemon and lots of seasoning) means that they are warm too, which makes the cheese melt. Mmmmm.
This would make a divine winter lunch for two or a starter for four people. My 1 year old wolfs sprouts down so she loved it. Never assume that kids won't like stuff like this; mine always surprise me! She loved the gorgonzola too. Walnuts, not so much!
Please make it and let me know what you think! Could this convert you to the way of the sprout or do you already think they rock?
To make a lunch for 2 or starter for 4:
400g Brussels sprouts (or thereabouts), end of stalk and any bad outer leaves taken off then chopped in half from the stalk down
100g gorgonzola (you could use roquefort instead)
large handful of walnuts, crushed in your hand a little
small handful of sultanas (if you don't like sultanas, you could leave these out and the balance would still work)
oil and butter for frying sprouts
salt and pepper
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar (Jerez is best)
1 teaspoon of honey
salt and pepper
- First steam your prepared sprouts for 5 minutes in a little boiling water.
- Now have a large frying pan or similar ready with a little butter and oil foaming nicely over a medium heat. Tip your steamed, drained sprouts in and let them slowly caramelise and get all sweet and crispy in the pan. Don't fuss about with them too much; let them colour without burning. You may want to turn the heat down a little. Keep turning them over until you are satisfied, it should take about 15 minutes, maybe less. Add a little more butter if needed as they cook. Season when in the pan with lots of salt and pepper.
- Whilst that is happening, make your dressing. I use a jam jar to shake it up, otherwise use a whisk to emulsify the ingredients. Taste and adjust as you see fit.
- In a large bowl or on the separate serving plates, compile your salad. I don't toss it as such as I want the cheese to stay looking pretty and in tact, just a little bit melted. Tumble your sprouts onto the plate, hand crush your walnuts over, then scatter the sultanas and dot the cheese about. Carefully pour the dressing over - you will be left with some so perhaps serve that at the table if people want more.