Wikipedia (remember, kiddies, not an academic reference) says that according to a survey in 2002, Brussels sprouts are Britain's most hated vegetable, and it has become a cliché there and in the United States that children dislike the vegetable. Overcooking releases sulfur compounds in the vegetables that give it a distinctive smell commonly found unpleasant. If correctly cooked, the unpleasant smell is avoided and the vegetable possesses a delicate nutty flavour.
Well, the ones I cooked last night were sulphur-free. Quite good they were, too.
I used a recipe from Feast, and changed it quite a lot. Nigella says to moosh them with chestnuts and pancetta, after precooking them. I did the precooking as she says, but forewent the chestnuts. I used brandy instead of her preferred liqueur, too. Here's my recipe.
Brussels sprouts with ham and brandy
- your desired quantity of trimmed and scored-through-the-base sprouts
- Cubes of ham off the bone
- Unsalted butter
- white pepper and a pinch of salt
- splash of brandy
Parboil the sprouts in salted boiling water for about 4 minutes. Drain. Put a small amount of butter in the empty pan with the ham, and fry for a few minutes or until the ham is golden. Add brandy and cook off the alcohol for a minute. Throw the sprouts back in, season, and stir until the sprouts are heated through and coated with the liquid.