For some, sprouts are a necessary part of the Christmas Dinner but, if you are looking for something different, sprout tops are delicious, attractive and rather less difficult to deal with.
In season from September to February this controversial vegetable, which in the past, like many of its relatives in the cabbage family, was overcooked. These days sprouts are treated with rather more respect, and care is taken to cook them to perfection – bright green with a bit of “bite.” They will keep fresh for longer if you buy them on the stems rather than loose.
Remove any discoloured outer leaves and trim the bases with a sharp knife. If they are all about the same size leave them as they are but if there are any large ones, slice them in half so they can cook more evenly. Wash then in cold running water. Steam them for 6 minutes before testing for doneness (use a long, sharp, knife) – they may well need longer but you will have to keep checking to avoid overcooking. Steaming is a good option as it is easy to get at them for testing. Stir in a small piece of butter and a pinch of salt flakes just before serving them in a warm bowl.
Brussels Sprouts Tops are usually cut from the harvested main stems and sold separately. These leafy greens cook to a stunning shade of green and are super delicious.
Wash, shake off the drips and slice the outer leaves thinly, removing any tough looking central leaf stems as you go. Finely slice the loose leafed central sprout and leave any tiny sprouts whole. Steam the leaves for about 5 minutes until tender but still retaining their fabulous greenness. Stir in a small piece of butter and a pinch of salt flakes just before serving them in a warm bowl.