Agro Dolce Sprouts with Prunes

I don’t love plain boiled sprouts and find them more palatable if treated like a bitter Italian brassica. Last winter I made sprout orecchiette, which was delicious. This dish tempers the bitterness of sprouts with wonderful sweet-sour flavour, and it went very well with Italian sausages, diced roasted potatoes and stewed celery. It’s not too heavy either – I find adding bacon and chestnuts to sprouts can overwhelm as an accompaniment to meat. I had run out of onions and used a small leek, which worked well. If you don’t have a leek use half a finely diced medium onion or a shallot. 

200g sprouts, trimmed of tough outer leaves and finely sliced
1 small leek, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
6 prunes, soaked in boiled water in a small bowl for 5 minutes, then cut into quarters
1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon caster sugar

How to make:
Prepare your leek, garlic, sprouts and prunes. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a medium frying pan on a low-medium heat. Add the leek and garlic and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the sprouts and toss in the leeks and garlic. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring to ensure that it doesn’t catch. If it’s catching or browning, add an extra tablespoon of water. Make some space at the side of the pan and add the vinegar and sugar into the vinegar, stir so the sugar dissolves. Stir and season well with salt and a good few grinds of black pepper mill. Add two more tablespoons of water and the prunes. Keep cooking until the sprouts tougher parts are tender. If it dries out or catches add a little more water. Check seasoning and adjust salt to taste. Add more vinegar and sugar to taste. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.


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