The Surgery - How can I make sprouts more interesting as a Christmas side dish?

By Mark Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Vitamin c Broccoli

The Surgery's tips on making sprouts more interesting

Dear Surgery: How can I make sprouts more interesting as a Christmas side dish?

The Surgery says:

Like other "old-fashioned" brassicas - curly kale, purple sprouting broccoli, swede - the humble sprout is finally shaking off its poor image.

As well as being very tasty, sprouts contain high levels of vitamin C and are also a good source of vitamin D. The sprout season used to last from September to February but new growing methods have meant they are available almost all year round.

Once a vegetable that only brought back bad memories of school Christmas dinners, sprouts now make regular appearances on the menu of top restaurants and gastro pubs.

Their bad image probably stems from being overboiled until they were a soggy green mush, but sprouts are very versatile and there are many ways of making them a tasty addition to any menu.

Sprouts should be boiled in salted water for between 5-8 minutes and then drained thoroughly. One of the classic

combinations is with bacon. Raymond Blanc's book A Blanc Christmas has a great recipe for buttered sprouts with bacon and almonds. Once the sprouts are cooked, add them to a pan of fried fine-strips of streaky bacon. Add 20g of butter, melted to give the sprouts a shine, then throw in some slivered almonds before seasoning with salt and pepper and serving. It's a delicious way to use sprouts and a good enough reason to believe the Sprout Growers Association's motto of "Sprouts are for life, not just Christmas".

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