Cooking with Brussels sprouts
For decades, Brussels sprouts battled a bad reputation, probably the result of being steamed or boiled to an army-green death.
But the ways they’re being cooked now would make any vegetable jealous: roasted with honey and harissa until impossibly crispy; sautéed with salty, spiced sausage and topped with pickled red onions; doused with cream and baked with cheese and breadcrumbs until thick and bubbling.
Cabbage-like in appearance (and part of the hearty brassica family), Brussels sprouts are in-season through winter and into early spring in New Zealand. They absolutely love the cold and the colder it is, the sweeter the sprouts.
Compared with other more traditional root vegetables, they don’t take long to cook, can be made on the stovetop or in the oven and can play almost any role, from a lighter side, roasted and tossed with herbs, to a rich and satisfying garlicky gratin.
Source: New York Times
If you haven’t done it already now is the time to start growing your Brussels sprouts. Start your Brussels sprouts seedlings going in seed trays indoors. When your seedlings are roughly 10cm tall (4-6 weeks) and the weather has cooled down, plant in well fertilised soil straight into your garden bed, or a large pot. Space your seedlings at least 50cm-70cm apart and water well. Keep your Brussels fed and watered and keep an eye out for common brassica pests like white butterfly. Brussels love the cold so your sprouts won’t be ready until well into the winter months. Pick formed sprouts from the bottom of the stems leaving the plant growing and you will be enjoying you Brussels through till Spring. .
They last longer on the stem. Refrigerate the stem end in water and break off sprouts as needed. If you bought them as loose sprouts, refrigerate them unwashed and untrimmed in an unsealed zip-top bag in the crisper drawer. Trim off outer leaves before cooking. Keep in mind: The longer they're stored, the stronger their flavour will be.
Don’t boil them! If you follow that one rule and either flash fry them or slow roast them you will realise that Brussels sprouts are a culinary marvel. Their flavour pairs well with balsamic vinegar, bacon, almonds, honey, rosemary, sesame and so much more. Brussels sprouts are also wonderful raw, finely grated and added to salads (see slaw recipe).