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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Brussels Sprouts Gratinoise

Mustard seeds, shallot, garlic, lemon juice, Brussels sprouts, S&P, pancetta, multi-grain bread.

Grind the mustard seeds and set aside.

Dice the pancetta, garlic and shallot.  Cook the pancetta in a heavy pan over medium heat until golden brown. Add the garlic and shallot and sautee until garlic begins to melt, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the blanched, trimmed and split Brussels sprouts, and cook until browned.  Add the mustard seed, salt & pepper and croutons.  Sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice just before serving.

A bit of pot roast and some hibiscus tea go nicely..

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I got yer Brussels sprouts right here.

(Wikipedia) Fore-runners to modern Brussels sprouts were likely cultivated in ancient Rome. Brussels sprouts as we now know them were grown possibly as early as the 1200s in what is now Belgium.[1] The first written reference dates to 1587.[1] During the sixteenth century they enjoyed a popularity in the southern Netherlands that eventually spread throughout the cooler parts of Northern Europe.[2]

Brussels sprouts grow in temperature ranges of 7 to 24°C (45 to 75°F), with highest yields at 15 to 18°C (60 to 65°F).[2] Plants grow from seeds in seed beds or greenhouses, and are transplanted to growing fields.[2]. Fields are ready for harvest 90-180 days after planting.[1] The edible sprouts grow like buds in a spiral array on the side of long thick stalks of approximately 2-4 feet in height, maturing over several weeks from the lower to the upper part of the stalk. Sprouts may be picked by hand into baskets, in which case several harvests are made of 5-15 sprouts at a time, by cutting the entire stalk at once for processing, or by mechanical harvester, depending on variety.[1] Each stalk can produce 1.1 to 1.4 kg (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), although the commercial yield is approximately 0.9kg (2 pounds) per stalk.[2].

Brussels sprouts are among the same family that includes cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi. They contain good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fibre. Moreover, they are believed to protect against colon cancer, due to their containing sinigrin. Brussels sprouts are cruciferous.

Salmon Croûte, Brussels Sprouts in Cream and Wild Rice with Mushrooms and White Truffle Oil

Dried oyster, trumpet and morchella mushrooms, shallot, wild rice, (real) white truffle oil, Brussels sprouts, heavy cream, butter, whole nutmeg, black sea salt, white peppercorns, wild Alaskan salmon and a blend of dried onion, garlic, carrot, red pepper, tomato, orange peel, parsley, bay, thyme, basil, celery, lemon peel, oregano, savory, mustard seed, cumin, marjoram, coriander, cayenne and rosemary.

Rinse and begin cooking the wild rice according to package directions.

Moisten a salmon filet with olive oil and season with the spice blend, sea salt and white pepper. Place fish onto an oiled skillet, wrap in a sheet of water-soaked red cedar paper and tie with kitchen string.

About 20 minutes before the rice is done, brown the trimmed and split Brussels sprouts in a little butter until browned.  Add heavy cream and simmer partially covered until almost tender, about 10 minutes.

While the vegetables are simmering, saute minced shallot and sliced mushrooms in butter and truffle oil, stirring frequently until just done, about 3-5 minutes.  Set aside.

Place the salmon in a 350 degree oven and cook about 10-12 minutes.

Uncover the vegetables and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Add the mushrooms and shallots to the rice and fluff with a fork.

Assemble the plate, topping the Brussels sprouts with seasoned, toasted bread crumbs.

Rating  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦