I'm departing Ireland for Brussels this evening. Although I land at Brussels airport, my actual destination is the Château de Petite-Somme, near Liége.
Getting into a culinary flow of consciousness here...
Did you know that the Brussels sprout (Brassica oleracea, Gemmifera Group) is a cultivar group of Wild Cabbage cultivated for its small (typically 2.5-4 cm diameter) leafy heads, which resemble miniature cabbages.
Brussels sprouts were first cultivated in Belgium, and are therefore named after its capital, Brussels.
Brussels sprouts grow on long thick stalks, from which they must be picked off, usually by hand.
According to a survey in 2002, Brussels sprouts are Britain's most hated vegetable. Brussels sprout aficionados attribute the hatred of the sprouts to overcooking, pointing out that if this is avoided, the vegetable possesses a delicious, delicate nutty flavour. Many consider that the best flavour is only developed in mid to late winter, after the plants have been exposed to some frost.
The cooking of the Brussels sprout is also the subject of much debate. Commonly the base is 'crossed' with a knife under the belief that this will lead to more even cooking. Others believe that this procedure leads to a leeching of flavours and that it should be avoided.
Anyway, here's a recipe and a photo of a FABULOUS way to cook this maligned vegetable.
Brussels Sprouts, Potatoes & Peas with Sour Cream
Brussels sprouts may not be everyone’s favourite vegetable, but they’re delicious combined with golden cubes of deep-fried potatoes, green peas and folded with mildly seasoned sour cream. Serve this tasty and versatile dish as part of a special banquet or feast menu, with a soup and bread for a warming winter’s meal, or with rice. Serves 4 – 6.
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
ghee or oil for deep-frying
1 cup fresh green peas
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
10–15 fresh curry leaves
½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
750g small, firm Brussels sprouts, halved
¼ teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ginger powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1–1½ teaspoons salt
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves or parsley
Rinse the potato cubes in cold water. Drain and pat them dry. Place enough ghee in a deep pan or wok that will well cover the quantity of potatoes. Heat the ghee to 190°C/375°F.
Deep-fry the potato cubes for 8–10 minutes, or until they are lightly golden brown. You may need to fry them in two batches. Remove the potatoes and drain them on paper towels.
Place the peas in a small saucepan and cover them with water. Bring to the boil, and cook the peas for 5–8 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside, reserving the water. If using frozen peas, blanch briefly in boiling water.
Heat the 2 tablespoons ghee or oil in a 3-litre/quart saucepan over moderate heat. When fairly hot, drop in the curry leaves and saute them for a few moments.
Sprinkle in the yellow asafetida powder, stir momentarily and then drop in the Brussels sprouts halves. Saute them in the fragrant oil for 3 or 4 minutes. Sprinkle in the black pepper, ginger powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt, stir to mix and add ½ cup water.
Stir briefly, place a lid on the saucepan and cook over moderate heat for 10 minutes or until the Brussels sprouts are just tender when stabbed with a knife point. Add the peas, potatoes, and herbs and then fold in the sour cream. Add a little of the reserved pea water if the dish is a little dry. Serve immediately.
Posted by Kurma on 30/6/05; 3:38:32 PM
from the Travel dept.