Sunday, November 4, 2012

Brussels Sprouts

When Reggie was a little boy, he didn't care for Brussels sprouts or lima beans all that much.


At least he didn't think he ought to, since the ones he was familiar with as a lad came in frozen packages from the supermarket.


But Reggie has since learned that Brussels sprouts and lima beans are rather marvelous vegetables, now that he has become accustomed to eating them fresh from the earth.


This weekend saw the reappearance of Brussels sprouts at the farmers market in the nearby town to Darlington House.  We bought a stalk of them, where each sprout was no larger than the size of a quarter, if that.


Cooked in a searing hot wok with pancetta, the sprouts made a most marvelous accompaniment to leftover roast chicken and buttery browned fingerling potatoes.


I do so adore the bounty of the seasons, don't you, Dear Reader?

Photographs by Boy Fenwick and Reggie Darling

44 comments:

  1. Couldn't abide either lima beans or brussels sprouts! My father lived BS and cooked them the English way - within an inch of their lives. My chef friends roasted some BS for me and they were fabulous. Still don't like lima beans.

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  2. I've got to learn the make tasty brussels sprouts. Perhaps I should roast them? Do they taste like cabbages??
    xo
    p

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  3. Here are four thoughts on your post:

    1) I never could abide brussel sprouts. The dark green ones were squishy while the pale green ones were harder but more difficult to swallow whole - I would never dream of chewing them. . . blech!!!

    2) When my mother wasn't looking we (and my father who also dislike them) would secretly try to feed them to our dog. He seemed to enjoy them.

    3) My Grandmother's cook always boiled them until they were just this side of disintegration and I think that the taste of those ones was even worse!

    4) Recently however, I had one (while dining with the Hattats). They are called kelbimbos in Hungarian and I found that I quite liked them. I can't understand this except to say that I think I am getting older

    Bye for now
    Kirk

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  4. Hello Reggie:
    We could not agree more about the worth of Brussels Sprouts which are, for some reason or other, so often despised, especially by the young.

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  5. Hello Reggie, When I was small, I had many food prejudices, but somehow never for brussels sprouts or lima beans. My mother would sometimes (and still does) make brussels sprouts steamed, then lightly fried in breadcrumbs and butter.

    As for lima beans, they form a magical combination with corn in succotash, evoking thoughts of the early days of America. Large dried limas make delicious baked lima beans.

    Fall and the harvest season is really the time for dishes like these, perfect for upcoming Thanksgiving.

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  6. We both adore sprouts. We eat our mostly roasted and finished with a splash of balsamic! And I love to find them on the stalk!

    And yes, we adore the change of seasons and the change of available vegetables.

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  7. I could happily eat a plate of Brussels, stir fried with chestnuts, Marsala, pancetta and a little thyme.

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    Replies
    1. VJ: I like the chestnuts theme running through the comments here, that and balsamic... Thanks! Reggie

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  8. It's funny, but I enjoyed limas as a child and detested Brussels sprouts. Now I like both, particularly the latter.

    Elizabeth

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  9. Yes it is time to go out and pick some of ours from the garden! ( I still don't care much for Lima's) We thought they were lost to our horrid
    growing season; but they recovered! Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Izzy: So glad your sprouts recovered. They are one of my most favorite, tasty treats! Thank you, Reggie

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  10. When the Dilettante was growing up, he didn't care Brussels sprouts or Lima beans all that much---oh wait, that's your story. He also didn't care much for peas---and learned to gracefully and undetectedly spit the offending vegetables into his napkin, bring it back to his lap without spilling them, and then subtly place them on the ledge inside the dining table, sneaking them into the trash later, undetected until the next time the table had to be expanded for a holiday party. Busted and punished. I now adore Brussels Sprouts and peas, despite the memory of that punishment, but to this day defy anyone to make Lima Beans actually appealing or tasty.

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    1. Reggie, also, availed himself of the ledges underneath our dining room table, exposed by the table's expansion. They were a most convenient place to dispose of unwanted food on one's plate. I and my siblings did it often enough that our dog wised up, and would wait patiently during dinner. She would circle the table afterwards, eating the food we had placed on the ledges. I am sure that such treats included more than a few sprouts...

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  11. Tastes change over time - I adore brussel sprouts but Beloved Spouse won't touch them. All the more for me!

    Having said that, yes, change of seasons is wonderful. Here in southern Australia, I'm about to pick our first broad beans, asparagus is in full flush and the globe artichokes are giving magnificently.

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    1. Erika, how heavenly it is to have early summer upon you! Don't you think Beloved Spuse would rethink his aversion to sprouts if you followed one or two of the suggested recipes among the comments below? They sound rather tasty enough to convert even the most determined die-hard... Reggie

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  12. Hello Reggie,

    I have fond memories of Brussels Sprouts in my youth. They remind me of Christmas day, being as they were a staple food item on our Christmas day menu. My mother always boiled them to almost a mushy consistency, which is typical of how the Brits (mis)treat their vegetables.

    I favor roasting or sauteeing them. Delish!

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    1. Dear LizaE: When I went to boarding school in England as an exchange student one year I was appalled by how the cooks boiled Brussels sprouts (along with every other "veg") into a dead, nutrition-less, spreadable paste. Quite horrid, and most unappetizing. Thankfully the cooking in our mutual homeland has come a long way. Thank you, Jamie Oliver and others! Reggie

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  13. I think Brussels sprouts are delicious! I roast them with pre-cooked chestnuts, then drizzle them with a syrupy balsamic vinegar and serve them alongside a standing rib roast at Christmas.

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    Replies
    1. Now, that is a divine-sounding recipe for yummy sprouts. Thank you!

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  14. Try tossing brussel sprouts with olive oil, add some pepper and a generous amount of salt, then roast in the oven until somewhat carmelized.

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  15. Reggie, Funny I have always loved Brussel Sprouts, especially the babies!
    Browning in butter till just done...delish!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena
    2012 Artists Series

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  16. A serious conviviant of vegulentsNovember 6, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Possibly the most lamentably obtuse ignoring of the most goshsomely gross aromatics since Uncle Truffle skinned his knee and bled all through algebra into the sulfur sample he'd purloined from Wittgenstein. Seriously: a charming posting. But how do you get around the stench?

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    1. Most amusing! One adores your way with the words...

      I actually rather like the "stench". . .

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  17. Pull them apart a bit- one wants about half loose leaves and half disheveled sprouts- saute in a little butter and olive oil and toss in a handful or more of broken pistachios- Dee-vine- and looks kind of fancy -

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    1. Okay, now you've got me! Must try this version asap! Thanks, Reggie

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  18. Did you know they are full of protein? I happen to have some that I bought the other day and they are from Holland and small - I plan to prepare as a side dish....to accompany some pasta.
    For thanksgiving, I prepare them with chestnuts.
    pve

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    Replies
    1. I had no idea they were protein packed! All the more reason to eat one's favorite sprout!

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  19. I love Brussels sprouts, particularly this time of year. I'm glad for your spotlighting as they can be so underappreciated. Now I'll have to try your way, with the pancetta.

    My favorite thing to do: toss in a bowl with olive oil, a little fresh ground pepper, and lemon juice; spoon out onto a baking sheet; dust with sea salt; pop into the oven for about 30 min at 400 degrees. (The oil makes it toast beautifully, but you can also wrap it in foil to heighten the effect.) My mother used to make this, an easiest side for dinner. I garnish with bruised rosemary or other garden herbs on hand, if I need some foolproof culinary chic.

    It's been an uphill battle to get my charming other to eat his vegetables, but I'm thankful the sprouts have never fazed him.

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    1. Dear Magpie, your recipe sounds mouth-wateringly delicious. We are big fans of roasted vegetables at Darlington House, a marvelous way to eat them, indeed; particularly in colder weather. Of course in summer we often grill vegetables. Reggie

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  20. to "A serious conviviant of vegulents"

    1. don't boil them to death.

    2. Recall Patricia Wells's (google her; this is a lady who knows what she's talking about) advice concerning eggplants and that silly, eternal question about salting them to remove their supposedly chronic "bitterness"....just gather unto yourself some common sense wqhen marketing and don't (assuming that you don't grow them yourself) buy the OLD stuff. Old Brussel sprouts smell of sulphur when they're boiled, and old eggplants are bitter unless treated. You can save yourself a lot of bother by simply learning how/when to buy them in season and when fresh.

    Advisedly yours as ever,

    David Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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  21. I am in total concurrence with The Down East Dilettante
    My napkin was my most important accomplice growing up-particularly on Sunday evenings, when my parents, both being from the U.K. always served a roast-most often accompanied by brussel sprouts. The Horror! Lima beans reared their ugly little misshapen heads once in a blue moon, but were met with equal revulsion.
    I'm proud to say I've since acquired a taste for sprouts-young, fresh, pulled apart and doused with browned clarified butter & rock salt -but lima beans- JAMAIS!!

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    1. Hello Dear Slim, so happy that you've overcome the horrors of boiled-to-death childhood sprouts. Love them when, as you write, they are pulled apart, too. Now, do give limas another try, please, I am sure you might reconsider...

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  22. This post has made re assess both these vegetables. Like many, the ones presented to us as children were overcooked ..accompanied by the burnt chop. I do still like an overcooked lamb chop though!

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    1. I'm afraid those of my readers who grew up in a cooking tradition originating in England were not provided much excuse for liking their vegetables, given their ruination on the stoves of Great Britain, and its (in some cases) former colonies. RD

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    2. BTW, I adore lamp chops, but I like mine pink and juicy...

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  23. P.S. (two days later)
    Saveur magazine just sent out an email, titled "15 New Ways to Cook Brussels Sprouts!". I forwarded it to a friend who'd recently told me, as we were discussing the upcoming Thanksgiving menu, that she never knew what to "do" with them.

    Amusingly enough, she replied to the forwarding by writing "Thanks, David, but you might as well give me advice on '15 things to do to a dead cat'. No matter what you do, it's still a dead cat."

    Rather obviously, I'm not exactly making any converts this week.

    ---david terry

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    1. Hello David, I am afraid your friend is beyond redemption. Better to move on, I think... A "dead cat," indeed! -- Reggie

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  24. P.S. (2)....

    I spend a lot of my days in France with the extended French in-laws, do a lot of cooking, read a lot of cookbooks.....and I've always been amused at the number of times I've encountered a recipe for something prepared "a l'Anglaise" (sorry...I'm working on an English keyboard this morning).

    These recipes are invariably recommended for very young children and/or invalids, and all entail grimly boiling the hell out of something until it is screwed unto The Very Lord. Often, it's recommended that, afterwards, one pass the entire, mushy mass through a food mill before presenting to the designated child or invalid.

    I find this terribly funny, particularly since the description "a l'Anglaise" is always offered by French authors with absolutely NO sense of irony.

    I should also add that I'm probably in no position to criticize any other culture's treatment of vegetables; I was born and raised in Tennesse, where no "good" southern cook would even consider cooking a vegetable without either deep-frying it or boiling it in a pan with pork-bits-of-some-sort and a tablespoon of sugar.

    Warily everyone's as ever,

    David Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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    1. Mr. Terry, thank you for another visit, and your most-amusing comment here! "L'Anglaise," indeed! Reggie

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  25. Is there anything better than brussel sprouts with pancetta? Well maybe brussel sprouts with truffle oil. Have a great Sunday. Shiree'

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  26. The very best brussel sprout dish I have ever tasted...http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/roasted-brussels-sprout-salad-10000001923421/
    And the cherry tomatoes, brussel sprouts, & green onions make a knock out addition to any Christmas dinner. I have converted many "Brussel sprouts! Gross!" with this recipe.

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