Sugar Baked Baby Brussels Sprouts & Fennel

So, my first post in 2014, and I’m sorry to say not a lot has been going on in my kitchen since the beginning of the new year. There’s not that much cooking involved with this dish either, but it’s one of those simple things that can just make your lunch a happy experience.

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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned to Johnny from Feed The Piglet on his Brussels Sprouts Risotto post that we seem to be starting the new blogging year off in sync as I had just bought about two handfuls of Brussels sprouts at our market hall a few days earlier. Shortly after that his post also got Freshly Pressed, what a funny coincidence.

Back to the Brussels sprouts: mine were baby (or mini) Brussels sprouts. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll probably know that I can’t resist anything that comes in a mini version in the kitchen, be it food or kitchen equipment. As Johnny mentioned to me, those tiny sprouts might probably just get scorched if I baked them in the oven. So I thought I’d pan-fry them, until I came across a lone leftover fennel bulb in my fridge. That needed to be cut down to its remaining useable bits, and I decided to give the oven baked version a go after all.

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This is certainly no recipe – if you can even call it that – that will make anyone go wow over, I’m aware of that, but it’s absolutely delicious. It’s so simple, quick and easy. Plus you can pimp it up quite a bit, too. I decided to have my vegetables with a few slices of pan-fried bread and homemade herb butter. My original idea, though, was to toss them with some pasta, maybe a little bit of parmesan. I think they’d also be good with a bit of dressing drizzled over them, something soft like a little oil (not too much because they’d already been baked with some oil) and a mix of balsamic and white wine vinegar, or a bit of balsamic cream (crema di balsamico).

My version tasted excellent, and I’d make this again anytime. I thought it might require some salt and pepper but it didn’t. The recipe below is without measurements as you can just make as much as you like or have at hand.

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Sugar Baked Baby Brussels Sprouts & Fennel

  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Sugar Baked Baby Brussels Sprouts & Fennel

(Baby) Brussels sprouts
fennel bulb
olive oil
raw cane sugar

Clean and wash sprouts and fennel, and cut into bite sized pieces. Slightly oil-brush a (small) baking sheet, place the vegetables on it, brush those will oil as well, then sprinkle over sugar. [They shouldn't be drowned in sugar but every bit of vegetable should be sprinkled.]

Heat oven to 200°C / 400°F (fan) and bake for 15 minutes. Take out of oven, give the vegetables a good stir, and if you find they don’t brown properly, or there’s not enough sugar, sprinkle over more.

Bake for another 10 minutes, but watch closely so the sprouts don’t get burnt.

Enjoy with pan-fried bread and butter, or toss with pasta.

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