Celebrating Winter Vegetables: Brussels Sprouts

January 2, 2014

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts


I can’t remember eating Brussels sprouts as a child, but now they’ve become part of our traditional Thanksgiving dinner as well as a favorite winter vegetable.  I like them best sliced thin and sautéed in walnut or olive oil.  But I’d never tried eating them raw.  So I was intrigued by this recipe for a tossed raw salad from River Cottage Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall:

Brussels Sprouts, Apple, and Cheddar

1/2 c toasted nuts (almonds, pecans or hazelnuts) chopped coarsely
5 oz fresh Brussels sprouts, cut into thin slices
A good squeeze of lemon juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
a few springs of thyme, leaves only, coarsely chopped (I used a bit of dried thyme)
salt and freshly-ground pepper
1 tart, crisp eating apple, quartered, cored, and sliced thin
1 oz cheddar, grated or crumbled

Toss well.  Serve immediately.

Brussels sprounts, apple and cheddar salad

Brussels sprouts, apple and cheddar salad

I discovered that I did like raw Brussels sprouts, too.  Next time I make this salad, I will add a few craisins or dried apricots.

Watercolor sketch of Brussels sprouts

Watercolor sketch of Brussels sprouts

Another watercolor sketch of Brussels sprouts

Another watercolor sketch of Brussels sprouts

I’m trying to stay committed to sketching and painting frequently, but my life feels fragmented and I can wrap my hands around only small projects these days.  I’m happy if I manage to paint some little thing from around the house, like these Brussels sprouts or a kale leaf.  I take heart from Beatrix Potter, who also painted plants, fungi, and small scenes from her immediate garden.  Many of her watercolor paintings are included in a lovely new book, Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life by Marta McDowell.  I found her life and work inspiring.

Watercolor sketch of kale leaf

Watercolor sketch of kale leaf

9 Responses to “Celebrating Winter Vegetables: Brussels Sprouts”

  1. Chris Says:

    We love “little cabbages”….I usually roast them whole or if quite large, cut in half with a little olive oil drizzled over, salt and pepper or any kind of seasoning you like!
    You might enjoy “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady” the sketches, writings, thoughts, poems, etc. of Edith Holden~1906.

    • Rosemary Says:

      I used to own that book, but passed it along to my sister. One of the joys of being a painter is that you don’t have to look far for models, if you don’t mind inanimate objects or natural things for your subject.

  2. Beautiful paintings. Enjoy what you can – small projects are better than no projects.

  3. shoreacres Says:

    Well, in a frenzy of experimentation, I’m going to try this recipe, too. I have not liked Brussels sprouts one little bit, but I clearly need to expand my horizons beyond broccoli and carrots.

    A friend just returned from her daughter’s house in Connecticut. She was introduced to cooking with coconut oil, and also to the practice of adding an egg yolk to cooked kale or spinach. Not the whole egg – just the yolk. She said it was delicious, and took every bit of bitterness out of the kale. I told her about your kale “nest”, and she’s going to try that.

    • Rosemary Says:

      I think Elisa touches on the bad memories of overlooked vegetables. My mother did this with cooked cabbage. The sautéed versions and salad versions are indeed nothing like the slimed ill-prepared versions. Hope you will be pleasantly surprised by the taste.

  4. Elisa Says:

    I have several versions of raw brussels sprouts dishes, one of which is a dijon ginger dressed slaw. Once it got past the ….well this is July 4th food, it went well with Thanksgiving meal. I had too many so I did the peeled sprout leaf saute in olive oil and garlic and then added chopped pistachios, and then I did the salad type item. YUM! None of these taste or smell of the slimey stinky hard squishy balls that people tried to get me to gag down under threat of spanking as a child either!

  5. Rosemary Says:

    Dijon and Ginger — sounds delicious.

  6. Lorrie Says:

    Kale & brussel sprouts both benefit from a dash of balsamic vinegar just at the end of their cooking time.

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