Though Christmas 2014 has come and gone, occasions for celebration continue, and it is always a good time to talk about sprouts. Brussels sprouts, that is. Wikipedia defines them thus:
“…a cultivar in the Gemmifera group of cabbages (Brassica oleracea), grown for its edible buds.” Read more about it right here.
There is no denying that these controversial veggies pack a nutritional punch, and it is equally undeniable that some folks will never taste that benefit. Brussels sprouts fall into that category of foods that are loved by some and loathed by others, with no middle ground.
I count myself among the former group, as I have enjoyed the hearty, earthy flavour of these leafy nuggets for as long as I can remember. When I was a child we dined on them on special occasions; Thanksgiving and Christmas, occasionally on New Year’s Day or Easter. They were lovingly prepared from a frozen state by reheating them in a quantity of boiling water, and those of our family who enjoyed them, enjoyed them well.
I still like to keep a bag of them in my freezer for times when I must have them, though I have learned to appreciate the fresh product in many different guises. Keeping it simple, one can boil or steam the trimmed globes to one’s desired degree of doneness, or adventure into the realm of baking, roasting or stir-frying them, with additional flavours to complement the natural pungency of the sprouts.
It’s quite easy to drizzle whole or halved sprouts with oil and roast them with garlic, rosemary or even spicy chili flavours. This year I chose to coarsely shred and stir-fry them with a small amount of minced garlic and thyme ever so briefly, just enough to intensify their green colour, then dress them with a mixture of lemon juice, honey and mustard in near-equal portions. I then stirred in some crispy bacon bits, toasted pecan pieces and dried cranberries. I once did this with chopped dried apricots, and it was yummy indeed. The beauty of this dish at a group dinner is that it tastes just as delicious at its inevitable lukewarm temperature as it does piping hot. What to call it? Warm Brussels Slaw.
Whether you normally include Brussels sprouts in your festive menu or not, perhaps this New Year’s Day or any other day you will give this a try.
It doesn’t have to be Tuesday to try something new.