I have always loved Brussels sprouts, even as a kid. Originally called Choux de Bruxelles this vegetable was first gown in the Spanish Netherlands (today’s Belgium) in the 15 hundreds. It became popular as a winter vegetable in the 19th century.
An old wive’s tale claims that Brussels sprouts taste sweeter and less bitter if the plant has been hit by a frost. I suspect this is a way to sell these vegetables to picky eaters and not entirely true. The truth: low temperatures do in fact raise the sugar content in many cabbages because their growth slows down and Brussels sprouts can actually tolerate very low temperatures (not freezing temperatures) for an extended amount of time.
Growing up in Germany I learned to only buy local, seasonal fruits and vegetables, shopping primarily at the farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets in Germany are year round and quite affordable! It must be ingrained in my system because I actually crave seasonal foods and Brussels sprouts are in season now.
- 1 pound of Brussels sprouts
- 1 shallot
- 2 tablespoons of goose fat, Schmalz or clarified butter
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- coarse salt and fresh pepper to taste
My mom used to make Rosenkohl (“rose sprouts” as they are called in German since they kind of look like rose buds) with sautéed onions and cream. Delicious! Add a dash of cream or a spoonful of Crème fraîche at the end of this recipe if you want to try it.
Clean the Brussels sprouts by trimming off the dry stem ends and removing any yellowed or bruised outer leaves. If your sprouts are very irregular in size, half the large ones to even things out. Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer. Blanch the sprouts for 2 minutes, then strain into a colander.
Mince the shallot. Heat a large heavy sauté pan over medium heat, melt the fat and add the Brussels sprouts and shallot. Sprinkle with salt. Pan roast for about 12 minutes, tossing frequently to make sure that nothing burns. Roast until the sprouts are tender but not mushy adding the sugar when the sprouts are just about done (we like ours with a little bite).
Serve as a side to any meat dish, sausage, mashed potatoes or a poached egg.
SOURCE: A FAMILY RECIPE
PUBLISHED ON JANUARY 13th, 2015