Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, Fennel and Walnuts

I tire of reading endless articles from "experts" that seek to demean and berate the rest of us that don't live in a climate that offers up green bounty year round. They insist that we should eat frozen veggies and yes those have a place in my kitchen I agree, however for the non frozen (somewhat fresh) veggies they also insist we should be eating local only.

Local in this latitude would mean turnips, carrots, potatoes, squash, cabbage, apples and onions, all those veggies that can be cellared successfully for months and months. I don't know about you but that would be monotonous after the first 3 or 4 meals if I could choke that many down at all. Yuck...

I like the fact I can get lettuce, leeks, Brussels sprouts, garlic, greens of endless varieties to name just a few items, whenever I want them, just by going to the local grocers.

We have jet planes that arrive at the local airport, their belly's stuffed with offerings from all over the world. Truckers driving night and day from the southern US and Mexico, racing along the highways to ensure my Caesar salad will be crisp and delicious as I like it. All this effort to allow me to enjoy some semblance of "fresh" in February at the 54th parallel. God bless the truck drivers, airline employees and the farmers of the deep south, Mexico, South America and Africa.

I was watching TV yesterday and some talking head that got some air time was droning on about how long distance produce has no nutritional value for us. Really? The strawberries I had for a snack were pretty damn good. The lettuce I had in a great salad was fantastic. The garlic (California of course) packs a wallop and a ton of flavour. The collard greens were great. The broccoli? Good too.

I agree that when I go to the farmers market in the summer the veggies are superior generally to what I get at the grocers in the winter. But they don't grow here from September to June and I won't go that long without some fresh veggies. My colon would rebel and that is never a good outcome I can assure you. The imported veggies taste better than nothing at all, and in fact they taste pretty damn good if you ask me and if the vitamin content is less than fresh from the garden I'll take a vitamin supplement.

So with fresh veggies available here at the 54th, I offer you a great recipe for those of you who don't get squeamish when you hear "Brussels sprouts". I know much of the western world is picky when it comes to veggies, and it seems, getting pickier every single day. But folks you gotta loosen up and try something different! You really do!

The recipe below is a great one to learn to enjoy Brussels sprouts, leeks and fennel bulb all at one time.  It is very, very good. Trust me. Have I ever lied to you? Okay. Don't answer that. Just eat some veggies please.... Farmers in Bolivia are counting on you right now.

1 lb Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced, about 4 cups, rinse under cold running water, drain well

2 leeks, dark green leafs removed and thinly sliced lengthwise

Note on leeks: These puppies are grown in sandy soil and when you buy them they will have sand packed in every nook and cranny. So clean them very well.  I will normally slice them then put the sliced leeks into a cold water bath and swish them around a few times. Drain and then repeat. You should too...
I took the outer leaf off just before I julienned this leek

1 large fennel bulb, core removed,  thinly sliced across, rinsed under cold running water, drain well
The outer leaf has not been removed in this picture
The outer leaf, a little more of the top and the core has been removed at this point
Slice fennel bulb, yum yum...
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced fine
½ cup walnuts, toasted
½ tsp sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté garlic in butter and olive over medium heat until lightly brown. 

Add the leeks and fennel to the browned garlic and toss well. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the Brussels sprouts, sugar and stock, stir well. 

Turn heat to high and sauté for 5-8 minutes, until tender and all moisture has evaporated.

Add walnuts and cook tossing well. Allow ingredients brown lightly.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot.

Snowy Palms Resort