24 Dec Brussels Sprouts with Tahini Dressing
Why do we hate brussels sprouts? Is it because we haven’t been cooking them properly? Perhaps. It’s fair to say that these minute cabbages have long been the victim of over-boiling. Christmas dinner is a feast that requires some multi-tasking and sprouts tend to get forgotten as they bubble away in piping hot water.
But even when they’ve been cooked to perfection, sprouts are still known to cause arguments over the dinner table. “Sprouts! Hurray!” cry the fans, hands clapping. “Ugh, no,” moan the opponents, holding their Christmas cracker hat clad heads in their hands. For those of us who like brussels sprouts, it seems odd that these pretty parcels would create such a reaction of horror in our fellow diners.
It turns out that there may be something genetic going on. In 2003, scientists located a gene responsible for creating a taste of bitterness. A 2011 study by Cornwall College in the UK discovered a chemical in brussels sprouts which only tastes bitter to those of us who have a variation of the bitterness gene. So if you really want to get out of eating sprouts this Christmas, perhaps you could claim a genetic mutation as your excuse?
As a sprouts fan (I must not have the gene) I would use this recipe to try to convince a sprouts hater to give them another go. It’s inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe. The minute I saw tahini with sprouts, I knew I was on to a good thing.
This tahini and yogurt dressing is very versatile, and a great way to make winter salads even more comforting. I use it in kale and carrot salads too. There’s a Middle Eastern twist on this sprouts dish, and the dish can come together quite quickly if you’ve prepared your ingredients in advance. Parboil the sprouts and then throw them into ice cold water, finishing them off in the frying pan with the spiced butter before serving them with the toppings.
Brussels Sprouts with Tahini Dressing
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of coriander
2 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of flaked almonds
1 tablespoon of tahini
1 tablespoon of yogurt
1 clove of garlic
Zest of half a lemon
Half a pomegranate
50g of crumbled feta cheese
A few sprigs of fresh mint
A pinch of sumac
1. Start by washing and trimming the sprouts. Slice the sprouts in half. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the sprouts to the pan and parboil for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and place in them in a bowl of iced water. This well help them keep their vibrant green colour. You can do this stage a few hours in advance of serving.
2. Over a medium heat, toast the cumin seeds and coriander for about 3 minutes in a large frying pan. Add the butter and allow to melt, stirring the spices into the melted butter.
3. Drain the sprouts from the iced water and place into the frying pan. Cover with the spiced butter and allow to cook over a medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until warmed through and started to crisp up around the edges.
4. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a small, dry frying pan over a medium heat, being careful not to burn them.
5. Make your tahini dressing by mixing the tahini with the yogurt. Use a fine grater to add the garlic clove to the tahini yogurt. Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to the dressing, or until you have a thin consistency for drizzling. Season the dressing with a pinch of salt and pepper.
6. Transfer your sprouts to a serving plate. Grate the zest of half a lemon evenly over the sprouts. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, toasted almonds, some finely chopped fresh mint a sprinkle of sumac, and finally a generous drizzle of your tahini and yogurt dressing. Serve as a vegetarian main course with hummus and pitta bread on the side, or to accompany your turkey dinner.
Storecupboard Essential: Tahini
This sesame seed paste is an essential ingredient to a good hummus but as you will see when you make this dressing, it’s more versatile than you might think. It’s readily available in good supermarkets and food stores.