On cooking Brussels sprouts

For years I hated Brussels sprouts. My mother used to boil them, and they were bland and slimy and horrible. In all the years since, I never bought them or cooked them myself, and avoided them if they happened to be served anywhere I went.

But the other week I went to a restaurant and the server suggested the house specialty side dish: fried Brussels sprouts. Nowadays I’m fairly adventurous with food and so I said sure, why not? They arrived, and the were delicious – crispy and spicy and oily and salty. Now maybe they weren’t really much more than a vehicle for oil and salt and crunch, but that worked, and for the first time in my life I really enjoyed sprouts.

Since then I’ve bought Brussels sprouts from the supermarket a couple of times. The first time I shallow fried them with garlic, chilli, and salt, and they were different to the restaurant ones, but still delicious. My wife liked them too. So a few days ago I bought some more.

I started cooking them tonight, and realised we were out of garlic. So I thought I’d add some finely chopped onion. But it turned out we were also out of onions! I added some chilli and turned to the Internet for help with what else could be added. Bacon… no, my wife is vegetarian and we don’t have any in the house. Onions… no, see above. Nuts… hmmm, we have almonds and walnuts. I could try that. Balsamic vinegar… Now we’re talking! I have some lovely caramelised balsamic vinegar. I added a drizzle of that to the sprouts, and served them up with spicy vegetable patties, and some steamed broccolini.

I didn’t take a photo because we ate it very quickly (we had a late dinner because my wife was out at a yoga class, and we were hungry). But it turned out wonderful!

A whole new world of cooking flavours and combinations have opened up. It’s fantastic. The net suggested other combinations with sprouts: cheese, lemon juice, honey, miso, apples, mustard! Not all at once, but I can definitely see a lot of possibilities here.

I enjoy cooking and trying new flavour combinations. Getting a new ingredient is one of the most wonderful things that a cook can experience.

In work news: I spent much of today organising experiments for Science Club on Monday. I’ll report on those after Monday. I would have liked to write a new Proof that the Earth is a Globe this week, but time got away, and tomorrow I’m busy too. I should have time to do one next week.

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2 thoughts on “On cooking Brussels sprouts”

  1. I’ve always liked sprouts, as has my sister, which is weird as neither of my parents liked them. (Why did mum cook vegetables she didn’t like?)

    But when boiling them, it is very easy to overcook them. They need to still be firm when they’re dished up, and finding that exact point between “raw” and “unpleasant” can be hard.

    Stir fried with walnuts and juniper berries is another good approach.

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