Every year at around the 25th of December in the UK, millions of poor unfortunate sprouts find themselves shoved into the back of many thousands of already over stuffed fridges probably to be forgotten in favour of left over turkey or small sausages wrapped in bacon.
Sprouts are always controversial, but they also have feelings and do not appreciate being thoughtlessly abandoned. They also have a somewhat bad reputation in some quarters, often as a result of being massively over cooked by the chef, doomed to taint the palette of the young for the rest of their lives or because they can cause flatulence when eaten in large quantities.
Today, I am indeed the saviour of the lowly sprout and will elevate it's status to the realm of the Gods by firstly, cooking them properly and then serving them up on toast with a perfect coating of molten cheese. This recipe will convert even the most ardent sprout hater into somebody who loves them so much that they will eat them every day in huge quantities for at least 6 weeks.
Step 1: Ingredients
- Freshly harvested home grown Brussels sprouts (or left over sprouts)
- Mature cheddar cheese
- Black lumpfish caviar
Step 2: Toast
Put a piece of bread in the toaster and half toast it. The rest of the toasting will be done under the grill. If we fully cook the toast at this stage, the corners go black and burnt under the grill and ruin the whole dish.
Step 3: Steam the Sprouts
Pull the sprouts off the stems - no knife required - it's really easy. Trim off any dead or yellow leaves and put them whole in the steamer. Once the water in the bottom is boiling, steam for exactly 20 minutes, checking after 15 minutes to see if they are cooked or not. Now remove the sprouts from the water pan and allow to cool and drain for about 10 minutes. Left over refrigerated sprouts from the previous day will also be fine.
Step 4: Squash the Sprouts
Using the back of a fork, squash the sprouts down to form a kind of cake. Failure to perform this step will result in your cheese running off the sprouts into the valleys between them. In perfecting this recipe, I did originally make this mistake myself. Please believe me when I say I have thought about this recipe very carefully and consumed a huge amount of sprouts during the lengthy period of trials.
Step 5: Sprouts on Toast
With the toast on a clean baking tray, carefully position the sprouts so that there are no gaps between them for the cheese to fall into.
Step 6: Cheese on Sprouts
Cut some slices of cheese and lay them over the sprouts.
Step 7: Grill the Cheese on Sprouts
The cheese should be grilled to the very point of destruction as this is when it tastes the nicest. Timing is everything.
Step 8: Perfect Grilled Result
The cheese should be running off the sprouts and also off the toast very slightly. It should be dark brown in colour, but with no signs of blackness.
Step 9: Add Caviar
For a touch of class, add some cold caviar and serve it up straight away to your eagerly awaiting friends. This is not just for show as the fishy taste actually works really well with the cheese and sprouts.
Very hot chilli sauce or chilli powder also works really well instead of caviar.