The last of the really good Brussels sprouts have hit the market this week and before we say good bye for the spring and summer, I thought I would make up one last bowl to enjoy with a steak and roasted potatoes.
I love how fresh B-sprouts look, so tight and crisp-looking. Of course, nowadays I love how they look and taste, but there was a time in my life when the mere sight would cause me to wretch and writhe around on the kitchen floor, begging Mom not to cook them. The smell, the bitter taste, the smushiness was just too much for my kid palate. What IS it about certain foods' tastes that just don't resonate with children's taste buds? Mom always insisted I take what was on my plate ... that I would 'acquire a taste' for anything that my tastebuds and sour stomach rejected. I still can't stand blackened steak or plain green olives, or prunes, but I've 'acquired a taste' for Brussels sprouts.
This treatment for the vegetable comes from a cookbook put out by the CIA (no, not THAT CIA) - the Culinary Institute of America, silly! It calls for cooked or canned chestnuts, but guess what? I never acquired a taste for them. No kidding! So, I'm going to use hazelnuts ... so there.
Basically, you blanche the sprouts until tender crisp in boiling water, refresh them in an ice bath to keep that beautiful green color, toast the hazelnuts in a bit of butter until they release their nutty aroma and then add a bit of maple syrup. Let the syrup boil up a bit to make a chewy nutty sauce (almost like a praline sauce!). Well, hey now! Sweet and nutty and buttery ... my kind of veg. This gets poured over the drained sprouts and they get warmed to a slippery smooth finish.
And there you have a springtime take on tiny little cabbages ... sweet, huh?