Sunday, 16 December 2012

Brussels sprouts hash with eggs and sage

Brussels sprouts yields are down in the UK this year, with a threat of needing to import so that the Christmas-celebrating population can buy the vegetable that no one likes, but someone would miss if they skipped.

Usually just (over)boiled, and served with butter, maybe with perfunctory additions of chestnuts and pancetta, it’s unsurprising that there’s little demand for sprouts outside of late December. It’s a shame, though, as their natural sweetness and crunch lends both to serving them raw and finely sliced in a salad, or keeping the slices equally thin and applying heat and seasoning to get them caramelised, even a bit charred.

David Chang (he of Momofuku) has a recipe for pan-fried sprouts doused in a punchy, fish sauce and chilli-laced dressing, which sounds like a great match for grilled fish or chicken. But for now, I’m stuck on this hash, which I’ve happily eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I’d imagine bacon and/or bacon fat would work quite well here. Goose or duck fat, which I sometimes have on hand, adds a nice savoury note. As for cooking the eggs, you could also poach them separately and place them on top of the hash. The only absolutes: slice thinly, season well and don’t stint on the sage.

Brussels sprouts hash with eggs and sage
Adapted from Serious Eats
Serves 2 for a hearty breakfast (scale up for lunch or dinner)
Total time: 20-25 minutes; Active time: 10-12 minutes

250g Brussels sprouts
1 small banana shallot (or part of an onion)
6 sage leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs

Trim and finely slice sprouts into thin shreds. Dice shallots and half of the sage leaves.

Turn on the grill (broiler) to a medium heat.

Heat olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining sage leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until leaves are crisp, about 1 minute. Transfer to a paper towel.

Add the sprouts and shallots to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are fully softened, and the sprouts have turned bright green, then begin to caramelise and lightly catch, 7 or 8 minutes

Create wells in the vegetable mixture and break in the eggs. Turn down fully, cover with a lid, plate or board and cook for a few minutes.

Place the pan under the grill, cooking until the eggs are just set. Season again, grate over parmesan to taste and garnish with fried sage leaves.

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