Sprouts, eh? Was there ever a vegetable more divisive? (Hmm, we may be looking at you, okra.) A lot of us have unfond memories of these bite-sized mini-cabbages – now, there’s a rebrand right there – being boiled to an unappetizing khaki, filling the kitchen with a boarding-house smell of old socks and sad Sundays. But a roast sprout, crisp and golden, with melting interior and charry leaves, smothered in leeks and topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and hazelnuts? Now we’re talking! This dish makes a regal accompaniment to any roast or a stand-alone centrepiece for a meat-free dinner. And, we can say from lived experience, leftovers are delicious warmed through and piled on bruschetta, with a drizzle more olive oil and flurry of grated Parmesan. The sprout is officially redeemed.
Serves 4 as a side
400g Brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved if large
1 tbs olive oil
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tbs olive oil
1 leek, trimmed and sliced into fine rounds
1 clove garlic, minced
180ml single cream
0.5 tsp vegetable stock powder
2 tbs panko bread crumbs
Zest of a quarter of a lemon
2 tbs hazelnuts, skinned, toasted and roughly crushed
Preheat oven to 230C.
Toss sprouts with first olive oil and salt amounts and spread on a baking-paper lined tray. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C.
Meanwhile, heat second olive oil amount in a frying pan and gently cook the leeks with garlic and a pinch of salt until sweet and collapsing – do not allow to colour.
Add the cream and vegetable stock powder and gently warm through.
In a separate bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and hazelnuts.
Arrange the sprouts in one layer in a ceramic baking dish and pour over the cream and leek mixture, stirring gently to coat. Top with the breadcrumb mixture.
Place the baking dish in the 180C oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the topping is golden and the cream bubbling up the sides.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then serve.