Little Cabbages (Brussels Sprouts)

This recipe is from Le Ménagier de Paris, a 14th century French manuscript. Now, I know many do not like Brussels Sprouts, but please give this recipe a try. I received many compliments on this dish after it had been served. Even the father of my children, a vowed Brussels sprout hater, had two servings of this dish and wanted more. This recipe can be found in either Early French Cookery or in The Medieval Kitchen.

Original Recipe:

Et des troncs [des choulx Rommains], se ins sont replantés, yssent de petits choulx que l’en appelle minces, que l’en mengue avec les herbes crues en vinaigre; et qui en a foison, ils sont bond esleus, laves en eaue change, et tous entiers mis cuire avec un petit d’eaue; et puis quant ils sont cuis, mettre du sel et du l’uille, et dreciés bien espois sans eaue, et mettre de l’uille d’olive dessus en Karesme.

Translation: (from The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy)

And from the stalks [of Roman cabbages], if they are replanted, come little cabbages called sprouts which are eaten with raw herbs and vinegar; and if you have plenty, they should be well cleaned, washed in hot water, and put to cook whole with a little water: and then when they are cooked, add salt and oil, and stir it up thick without water, and put olive oil on in Lent.

My Interpretation:

1 lb Fresh Brussels sprouts ½ tsp salt
3-4 Tbsp Olive Oil 1 Tbsp herbs (Italian herb blend: Marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil)
1 tbsp wine vinegar

Trim Brussels sprouts, score on end with an X and place in pot with a steamer. Although the original recipe does not mention specifically to score the sprouts, I consider this part of the standard cleaning process of the sprouts, allowing for more even cooking. Steam the sprouts until tender. Toss the cooked sprouts with remaining ingredients, serve warm.

Works Referenced:

The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy; Odile Redon, Françoise Sabban, & Silvano Serventi, translated to the English by Edward Schneider; The University of Chicago Press, 1998

Early French Cookery; D. Eleanor Scully & Terence Scully; The University of Michigan Press, 1995