I’m a big fan of the brussel sprout, but in the last few weeks my love of them has been sorely tested. When I planted them back in the spring they grew magnificently and healthily. I staked them in the autumn and waited to start harvesting my crop. A couple of weeks ago I picked the first batch and decided to invent a delicious winter salad of shredded brussel sprout, puy lentils and bacon. It looked delicious…
but frankly it tasted like hamster droppings. I thought I should share the fact, aware that if I only talk about my successes I probably come across as insufferably smug. But I won’t share the recipe, that would be cruel.
Wounded but not beaten I decided to re-enter the fray again today, but the sprouts were ready for battle. I’m pretty strong, in spite of my teenage son regularly calling me an haggard old crone, but it took me nearly twenty minutes to pull up a single stick of brussel sprouts out of the garden. I’ve grown them in the past, but have no recollection of it being so difficult to harvest them. Any tips? If things don’t improve before Christmas we won’t be eating our Christmas lunch until New Year’s Day.
Anyway rather than another hamster dropping venture, today I decided to go with an old favourite.
Brussel sprouts with a cheesy sauce
Whole grain or Dijon mustard
Boil water and add brussel sprouts and boil for just about 3-4 minutes, drain and put in a gratin type dish. Make a white sauce (a knob of butter melted in a pan + tablespoon or so of flour, cook until it looks a bit like scrambled egg, add milk and bubble) then add a teaspoon of mustard and a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche. Then add a couple of handfuls of strong cheese. Today I used a mixture of Gruyere and Cheddar but you could also add little chunks of blue cheese like Roquefort. Pour over the top of the brussel sprouts. Grate parmesan on top and put in the oven at 180 until brown on top and bubbling.
The picture doesn’t really do it justice but it is very tasty. Today we had it as a side dish with roast chicken but sometimes on winter’s evenings I like to eat this by itself with a hunk of french bread to mop up the cheesy sauce. Very unhealthy, but delicious.