This evening for dinner we had lamb and brussel sprouts. My nephew, who is eight, did nothing to hide his dislike for the vegetable. His parents asked him to keep an open mind and despite his protests, insisted that he at the very least, have a little taste before saying he didn’t like brussel sprouts. So he found a little leaf and took a bite and declared that he didn’t like it.
“That little piece you ate was a mint leaf.” She said, and urged him to try again. So he found some of the little cabbage and maintained that he STILL didn’t like them.
Even if I had prepared the brussel sprouts, I have to admit I couldn’t blame him. I remember as an eight year old, I had my own biases against certain vegetables. I despised eggplants and okra. I thought that they were specially created as punishment for naughty kids. I still remember my parents saying I couldn’t leave the table until all the vegetables on my plate were finished. They said to think of all the “starving children”. In my naiveté, I thought, “Well, if there are so many starving children, take the vegetables on my plate and feed it to them!”.
I know there are many who have an aversion to brussel sprouts. But this dish from Porteno Restaurant is delicious. Deep fried brussel sprouts served with lentils and sprigs of mint and dressed with a sticky vincotto dressing – it’s enough to convert anybody (that is, of course, except my nephew).
Porteno’s Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Lentils
- 150 grams small green lentils
- vegetable oil for deep frying
- 2 kilos brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 1/2 cups mint, loosely packed, chopped
- 100 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 50 ml fig vincotto
- 1 tablespoon Dijon (or Hot) mustard
- Place the lentils in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, around 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Deep fry the brussel sprouts, around 4 to 5 minutes until the edges crisp and turn golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Season with some salt.
- Mix the olive oil, fig vincotto, mustard and a little more salt to taste.
- To serve, place the brussel sprouts in a large bowl, add the lentils, toss with the chopped mint and dressing.