Unlike many people I didn’t grow up hating Brussels sprouts. My Mum didn’t actually ever cook with them so I don’t have any horrible childhood memories of overcooked flaccid sprouts. Brussels sprouts have got a bad rap over the years but now it finally seems they are back in vogue. Restaurants like Porteno in Sydney and Meat Mother here in Melbourne are serving up sprouts as an attention seeking side dish.
The trick to making Brussels sprouts a show stealer rather than a mere side dish is firstly not to overcook the sprouts when you boil them first. Then to get some crispy edges happening you need to fry them and then pop them in the oven. I also like to use tiny pieces of diced pancetta to add a delicious salty flavour to the sprouts.
- 750g brussels sprouts
- 150g thick pancetta cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp butter
- Salt and pepper
- Pinch of dried chilli
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch continental parsley
- 1. Cook the sprouts in simmering salted water for 4 to 5 minutes until just tender. Make sure not to overcook. Drain well and wait until cool enough to handle. Cut each sprout in half.
- 2. Heat the oven to 220 degrees. Cook the pancetta in a hot frypan until crisp. Add the sprouts and cook cut-side-down over high heat for 2 minutes.
- 3. Add the butter, salt, pepper and chilli, and toss well for a further 3 minutes until browned.
- 4. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes or until crisped.
- 5. Scatter the parsley leaves across the top, shake up the sprouts, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season to taste.