Arguably, the most hated food would have to be brussels sprouts. I think most people who hate the little green cabbages will have tried them as a child and have never let go of the memory. I would even go as far as suggesting that most people can recall when they took their first mouthful. I remember my mum tricking me into thinking it was a tiny cabbage, and because I liked cabbage, it seemed logical that I would like these little varieties. It turned out that I did not, and in the process, I had lost a small part of the trust in anything my mum had to say about what food I would like!
Many people probably hate sprouts because they have a bitter component that children naturally find unpleasant but that we slowly adapt to as adults. But I wonder if the reason they are hated is because we have all been exposed to the dreaded boiled version, and even I still hate them boiled. It seems water brings out the worst possible flavours and rinses the delicious ones away. Yes, there are delicious flavours in brussels sprouts. You just have to know how to tease them out. I think caramelising is the best way of bring out the best in sprouts. Of course adding other ingredients helps as well.
I think brussels sprouts should be given another chance. They are the much maligned vegetable that we often over look and I think they should be brought back to the table.
250g fresh or dried linguine
200g brussels sprouts
1/2 brown onion, chopped finely
1-2 tsp dried chilli flakes
50ml white wine
1 tbs butter
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper
Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil for the brussels sprouts. Cut the base stem from each sprout and cut them in half or quarters, depending on their size. Plunge them into the boiling water and let them simmer away for a few minutes until their colour is vibrant green. Remove and drain them for a few minutes to remove any water.
Bring another large pot of salted water to the boil and drop the linguine in, keeping the water rolling along.
In a large saucepan sauté the onion in the olive oil. When the onion is translucent, add the brussels sprouts. Sauté the sprouts and onion until they are evenly caramelised. Add the chilli flakes and the white wine.
Drain the linguine but keep a good splash of the remaining cooking water and add it to the pan with the sprouts. Add the linguine and toss all the ingredients together. Season well with salt and pepper.
Transfer the linguine to a serving plate. Garnish with fresh parsley and finely sliced chilli.