Recipes from your veg box: Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Whipped Feta and Pickled Rhubarb
In our second of the series with Better Food Traders, meeting the people behind the veg supplies in London, we find out how to spice up seasonal Brussel Sprouts and Rhubarb.
Better Food Trader, Local Greens is a non-profit fruit and veg scheme based in Herne Hill that works with local, organic farms to supply weekly bags of seasonal veg to customers across Lambeth and Southwark. Their system is based on collection points across SE London, to minimize carbon footprint and involve the local community and their values include fair wages for farmers, eating seasonally and supporting a better UK food system.
Although Brussels are a beloved Christmas side dish, sprouts features in our veg bags well into March. A brilliant local chef - Fatima Tarkleman - combines them with the lively forced rhubarb of early Spring, and Graceburn British feta-style cheese, to create a refreshing dish with a touch of Americana and a whole lot of flavour.
“With this recipe, we’ve applied our collaborative, local mindset to bring a distinctively unique approach to the Brussels sprout.”
Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Whipped Feta and Crumbled Rhubarb
For the rhubarb:
2 clean jam-sized jars
200g rhubarb, washed
100ml any fruit vinegar (ie: apple cider vinegar, pomegranate vinegar etc)
½ tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp black peppercorns
½ tsp fennel seeds
1 star anise
For the sprouts:
250g Brussels sprouts, outermost leaves removed, stalk trimmed, washed
75g drained Graceburn or feta cheese
100g light cream cheese
20g dill, fronds picked, stalks finely chopped
1 head of red chicory, leaves separated, core discarded
Start pickling the rhubarb the day before you wish to serve the dish. Cut the rhubarb into 1cm wide diagonal slices and place into a bowl. Sprinkle with ½ tsp salt, mix well, set aside.
Toast the spices in a dry frying pan on a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Heat the vinegar and water together in a small pot until it starts to steam. Add the sugar, coriander, black peppercorns, fennel, star anise and cloves. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, and then turn off the heat.
Retrieve the rhubarb, draining off any liquid that has formed. Place the rhubarb into a suitable jar (or two, if required) and pour over the hot pickling liquid and all the spices, close the jars. Once cool, place the jar(s) in the fridge overnight, or for at least 4 hours.
Make the whipped cheese: Place the Graceburn or feta in a large bowl and whisk well to break it up. Add the cream cheese and whisk for a full 2 minutes to make it nice and light. Don’t worry if it isn’t completely smooth.
Make the sprouts: Preheat your oven to 225 C. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half through the core. Then slice them almost into quarters though the leaves but keeping the core intact, fanning out the leaves a little using your thumb, as though you were trying to find your place in a book. Place the prepared sprouts into a large bowl and drizzle over 3 tablespoons of oil from the jar of Graceburn (or 3 tbsp mild flavoured oil, such as rapeseed), and the thyme from the jar of Graceburn (or 1 picked sprig of thyme). Roast on a baking sheet, in the hot oven, cut side up, for 10 minutes. Place back into the bowl they were in, and while still hot, toss with a large pinch of flakey sea salt.
Assemble the final dish. Spread the whipped cheese mixture onto a large plate or platter. Arrange the chicory leaves on top, with inner side up so they act as boats to hold the sprouts. Add the crispy sprouts on top. Drain 100g of the pickled rhubarb and scatter on top, along with dill fronds and stalks.
Note: This recipe makes more pickled rhubarb than you’ll need. It will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months – it’s delicious chopped with shallots as a condiment for grilled mackerel, or popped into leafy or bitter salads for sweetness and extra zing.
This recipe was developed for Local Greens by South London chef, Fatima Tarkleman, who champions no-waste, sustainability, inclusivity and deliciousness in each of her dishes. Follow her cooking adventures here.
All the Better Food Traders sell organic, fresh, delicious veg. They put their farmers, communities and the planet first. Fair pay, less pollution, seasonal, healthy food for everyone.
Small, ethical food retailers can’t always do delivery slots, nor offer huge amounts of choice at low prices. But by committing to these ethical food providers you are doing the planet and your local community a massive favour, all whilst prioritising healthy food for you and your family. Find your local Better Food Trader here.
See the first recipe in this series: Beetroot and Goats Cheese Bake