Caramelised Button Sprouts and Shallots with Sherry Vinegar

If you can get tiny button sprouts for this so much the better, but in any event they should be tight and firm and not too large.

Serves 8

Caramelised Button Sprouts and Shallots with Sherry Vinegar
 1 lb 8 oz (700 g) Brussels sprouts, prepared
 2 shallots, finely chopped
 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
 4 oz (110 g) smoked pancetta, chopped
 ½ oz (10 g) butter
 1 dessertspoon groundnut or other flavourless oil
 Salt and freshly milled black pepper


Heat a large frying pan, add the pancetta to the pan and let it cook gently until crisp. Remove the pancetta, add the butter and oil to the pan and gently cook the shallots.

While that's happening, place the sprouts in a fan steamer, sprinkle them with salt, and steam them over boiling water for 4-5 minutes or so, which should be enough to just half-cook them.

When the shallots have softened, remove them from the pan. After that, turn the heat up under the frying pan, add the sprouts and toss them around for 2-3 minutes until they begin to take on a little colour. Now turn the heat up high.

Add the shallots and pancetta and sherry vinegar; let it bubble and reduce while you constantly turn the sprouts over and over to soak up the flavour of the vinegar.

As soon as the sprouts are tender, transfer everything to a serving dish, add a little pepper and serve straightaway.

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