As far as children’s eating preferences go, I know I am pretty blessed. Poppy had a wee tantrum at Whole Foods the other day because I wouldn’t let her get a salad to eat in the car on the way home. It’s not that I am depriving my child, I was thinking of the brand new, until we got our greasy and sticky little mitts on it, rental car.
It was her who decided that we should have brussels sprouts, one of her favourites, for supper the other day. When asked what she would like to have with her father’s most dreaded vegetable, she replied, ‘Just a glass of milk.’
I chose to provide some protein and starch with the sprouts, purely as a marriage preservation technique, but that is beside the point. It is about the sprouts.
Way back when, we used to do rapini with garlic, lemon and toasted sesame at Lolita’s Lust, which was not a brothel but a restaurant where I used to work. As the girls and I strolled, read: stop-started in three foot intervals while one child or another tried to leap out of the shopping trolley at one shiny package or another while I pleaded still-sitting and inside voices, through the supermarket aisle, I thought that such treatment would suit the much maligned sprout.
Poppy informed me that Hazel, our imaginary sister, didn’t like sesame seeds, she only likes poppy seeds narcissistically enough. So we shifted from thoughts of toasty, nutty sesame to the prettier and stick-in-your-teethier poppy seed. Don’t think I don’t like poppy seeds, I do. I just think they are at their best mixed with lots of sugar and dairy and baked into something gooey and sweet, think rugelach, lemon poppy seed cake with cream cheese frosting and poppy seed danish. You get the gist.
Well, it is lucky that Hazel happened to join us for that trip to the supermarket, she has been using that time to surf lately, because she hit it right on and the poppy seeds are perfect here.
No longer is there any excuse for stinky, overcooked lumps of mushy grey green brussels sprout. These are delicious. Stephen even said they were good. This, from a man who for the last forty years has sulkily eaten one brussels sprout each Christmas because he was made to.
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Lemon and Poppy Seeds
28 large brussels sprouts shredded, about 5 cups shredded, or in the absence of a food processor, thinly sliced
3 cloves (about 1 tablespoon) garlic minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup stock (chicken or vegetable) or water
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pan, over medium high heat, heat the oil.
Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds.
Add the sprouts and toss with the oil, then add the stock or water. Continue cooking, tossing every twenty seconds or so, until the sprouts become bright green and start to become tender.
Add the lemon juice and poppy seeds, toss and remove from heat.
Season with salt and pepper.