Friday, December 16, 2011

Brussels are not just for Christmas Dinner

The lowly brussel sprout receives a lot of undeserved criticism. The simple fact is they are a rather delicious vegetable and in my dealings with them they have possessed none of the unpleasant qualities so often attributed to them. Celebrate Winter by eating Brussels Sprouts.

Brussels Pureed with Roasted Eggplant & Garlic with Gnocchi and Crisped Prosciutto

Wrap a few unpeeled cloves of garlic in foil and place in a hot oven along side a Japanese Eggplant and bake until soft.

Halve brussels and boil in a large saucepan. When soft spoon into a food processor and retain the cooking liquid to thin the puree and to cook the gnocchi in.

Squeeze the soft sweet flesh from the garlic into the food processor and add the flesh of the eggplant, discard the skin and add half a rib of celery chopped small. Pulse a few times to combine. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper and a small grating of fresh nutmeg. Be cautious, nutmeg can quickly overpower all other flavours. Add a little of the cooking water and process, check consistency and add more water if needed. It should not be a smooth runny sauce, it should retain some texture. Transfer the puree to a bowl and stir through some finely grated parmesan.

Warm a small skillet and add a little olive oil, when hot toss in pieces of ripped up prosciutto and fry until crisp, allow to drain before using.

While the proscuitto is cooking bring the brussels water back to a gentle boil (add more water if needed) drop in gnoccchi. Once they float allow to cook for about 5 minutes then remove with a slotted spoon.

To serve spoon puree onto a plate or bowl. Nestle the gnocchi on top and sprinkle the crisp prosciutto pieces over all. Finish with a few twists of black pepper.