When my little sister, Jane, was in Kindergarten the teacher got them to make model angels as a Christmas project. Jane’s became an instant sensation. The white clay angel, wings outstretched, hands clasped in front of its conical body, and sparkling with gold glitter, bore an expression on its little clay face nearly identical to Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Really, what followed was inescapable. The angel was placed in honour at the center of the Christmas table where Jane seized the moment and set a single Brussels sprout into the hands of the horrified seraph thus proclaiming, with breath-taking visual wit, her repulsion to the loathed sprout, bane of many a child’s otherwise glittering Christmas.
The “Sprout-Angel” has been a tradition in our house since then, every year clasping in horrified anguish that year’s sacrificial sprout, the ever present pronouncement of Jane’s childhood (and ongoing I think…) loathing of the tiny brassica.
I remember as a child being similarly minded when it came to sprouts, and now my four year old has already made a preemptive announcement that he doesn’t like them. In fact, I wonder if there is a child out there who doesn’t dread that one aspect of the happy day. It turns out that this childhood aversion to Brussels sprouts, along with many other vegetables, is a natural part of human survival instincts making foods poisonous foods (which also tend to be bitter) repellent to us until we’re old enough to know what’s safe to eat and what isn’t. So happily for our health (and the serenity of the Christmas table) we tend to outgrow this aversion, and often start to love those veggies that were once so vile!
As it happens, I love Brussels sprouts enough that I don’t reserved just for Christmas, but instead prepare them as much as I can while they’re in season. Good news as these little sprouts are loaded with nutrition. They’re a great source of vitamins C, A, K and E, as well as loaded with valuable minerals including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, calcium, manganese and selenium. They’re packed with fiber and help to lower cholesterol, help to protect you from cancer and, due to their abundance of fiber, promote a healthy colon. All of that loaded into delicious and versatile bite-sized veg.
With their slightly bitter taste, Brussels sprouts are beautifully complemented by a number of flavours. Roasting them in with sweet or savoury ingredients is a lovely way to create a more rounded dish than simply a bowl of boiled sprouts.
Winter is a wonderful season for interesting fruit and veg, and I’m always really pleased when persimmons make their first make an appearance in the shops. If you’ve never tried this lovely winter fruit, I highly recommend you get some the next time you see them. They’re gorgeous, soft sweet and seedless, and filled with nutrition in their own right. Their sweetness makes them a lovely addition to sprouts, especially when roasted a bit to make them warm and slightly caramelized. Delicious!!
As well as persimmon, I’ve added some saltiness to the sprouts by sprinkling them with a bit of feta cheese, and a protein packed crunch with the addition of hazelnuts.
So here you have roasted Brussels sprouts and persimmon. As I say, I really do love Brussels sprouts, so this will undoubtedly be the first of several posts about them in the next while. I’ve got a lovely Christmassy option coming soon!!
- 500g Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
- 1 ripe persimmon, cut into thin wedges
- 3 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 25 g feta cheese
- Small handful whole hazelnuts
- Small handful flatleaf parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Place the prepared sprouts into a roasting tin and sprinkle over the oil. Stir until all of the sprouts are evenly covered. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place into the pre-heated oven and leave to roast for 25-30 min., until fairly tender and just starting to brown.
- Add the persimmons and hazelnuts and sprinkle over the vinegar. Gently toss until everything is evenly coated with the oil and vinegar. Return it to the oven and roast for a further 10 minutes, until the fruit is soft, the sprouts have a few crispy bits around the edges, and the nuts are nicely toasted.
- Remove from the heat and top with the feta and parsley. Season if required.