The Thing About Brussels Sprouts

In the same plant family as cabbage, broccoli and kale, Brussels sprouts have been cultivated in Belgium (hence the name) since the 1200’s.

Extremely high in Vitamin C and a good source of iron, a lot of people dislike Brussels sprouts, reporting that they have a bitter or sulphur-like flavor.  The objectionable taste actually comes from a compound called sinigrin (CAS 3952-98-5), which is released when the vegetables are overcooked.

So to ensure mild, sweet-tasting Brussels sprouts, simply do not overcook them..

Brussels Sprouts and Ham in Mustard Cheese Sauce

Brussels Sprouts and Ham in Mustard Cheese Sauce

Place washed, untrimmed Brussels sprouts in a covered steamer for 6-7 minutes until bright green but underdone. Shock the sprouts in ice water to stop the cooking process and preserve the color.

Trim off the stems and peel away the outer leaves.  You want the sprouts to be as uniform in size as possible, so you might cut the larger ones in half (or even in quarters) and leave the smaller ones whole.

Heat some fat (bacon grease, butter or leaf lard all work well) in a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and Brussels sprouts and cook until both are well browned.

Add uncured ham and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add fresh cream and coarse mustard (preferably homemade) and simmer until it sprouts are fork-tender.

Add cheese such as raw-milk cheddar with caraway seeds and stir to combine.  Add some chopped parsley for visual appeal if you like.

Season with sea salt, freshly-ground pepper and perhaps a few red pepper flakes and serve hot from the pan.

This post is part of the Pennywise Platter Thursday at The Nourishing Gourmet

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