For 9 years now, Bow Valley Gourmet has offered a Hot Lunch program @ Our Lady of the Snows school (K-12) here in Canmore, Alberta. The students are offered fresh, healthy, home made options at an affordable price. I shop for only the freshest foods, especially when it comes to Vegetables. The challenging part is preparing Vegetables, such as Brussel Sprouts to be appealing for kids of all ages.
There is no question that Brussel Sprouts are good for you, as they contain high amounts of Vitamins A, K and C. They are also loaded with Fiber and Folic Acids. The Sprouts grow like buds in a pattern on a stalk; odd but true, the best quality Sprouts are picked after the first frost of the year.
When you are looking at purchasing fresh Brussel Sprouts, please use the 3 most popular tools in the kitchen – Eyes, Hands and Nose. You should find a vivid Green and uniform in size. They should be firm to the touch and the smell of a fresh Green Cabbage.
The secret is 6 minutes. The blanching and shocking of Vegetables is something that is done on a daily basis in all cooking establishments with fresh Vegetables. This method is explained in the recipe listed below. The blanching and shocking method will allow you to properly prepare all Green Vegetables, flawlessly. In turn you can then offer Green Vegetables in a variety of ways and will be enjoyed by kids of all ages.
The recipe I have chosen for this month is simple, please keep in mind that the preparation of this recipe is the emphasis.
Brussel Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta – Serves 6 Guests
14 Ounces Fresh Brussel Sprouts
5 Ounces Raw, Fresh Pancetta
2 Tablespoons Small Diced Onion
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- In a Large Pot, fill with 2 Quarts of Water. Bring to a boil and add 6 ounces of Salt.
- Add your Brussel Sprouts and allow 6 minutes to cook. Have an ice bath prepared and strain and place your Sprouts into your ice bath. Allow 5 minutes to cool thoroughly. This is the preparation known as Blanching and Shocking.
- Remove from ice bath and cut in half, removing also the bottom core.
- In a Medium sized Saute pan, over medium heat add your Pancetta. Cook for 4-5 minutes stirring often. Try and keep the pancetta from sticking together.
- Once all the Pancetta is cooked evenly add small diced Onions. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add your Brussel Sprouts and season with Salt and Pepper. Serve immediately!
As I mentioned the success in Brussel Sprouts has everything to do with preparation. Please do not overcook your Brussel Sprouts and you will be able to enjoy one of the healthiest Vegetables with kids of all ages!
Eat fresh and ENJOY!