Updated: Jun 30, 2019
Last summer, Samantha and I ventured across the pond to explore the culinary world of California. Honestly this is one of the hardest parts of the job but it is essential to explore what is happening elsewhere to spot trends, ideas and generally see what we can learn that might translate to the UK market. It was not only worthwhile but I would recommend a similar to tour to anyone as the drive from San Fran to San Diego is simply stunning in places.
Anyway back to the food. We kept coming across a Brussel Sprout dish that was not only recommended but was to be seen on many tables. Now we love Sprouts but they are not the most beloved of vegetables, and not only because of the taste; but they are good for you.
Californians are certainly up for food that is good for you, but would it be appreciated in the UK?
Now It wasn’t your typical boiled sprouts tossed in butter with pancetta or chestnuts but these were deep fried and topped with parmesan and drizzled with a balsamic glaze. Needless to say we tried them and loved the dish.
Good for you - tick
Tasty - definitely - tick
Easily replicable - tick
Seasonal UK produce - tick
Back home we discussed this with our Exec Chef and resident rosette food guru Darren Goodwin and I have to say he didn’t seem to be buying the idea of simply replicating the idea. I left it with him.
Some months later Darren asked me to try a few new dish ideas for the Bridge Inn - one of which was Kalettes - I had never heard of them. Darren had done what he always does, taking an idea we discuss and just making it better. Sprouts - who needs them when you can have Kalettes.
What are Kalettes?
Kalettes are an interbreeding experiment by Tozer Seeds a vegetable breeders in Surrey and were originally called Flower Sprouts.
But for the same reasons Darren wasn’t keen, the name was changed to focus on its other parent Kale which basks in popularity without the baggage of Sprouts.
They are in season October to April, are grown in Lincolnshire and Scotland are not genetically modified and contain twice the amount of Vitamin C and B6 as Brussel Sprouts. Brilliant on so many levels and so damn tasty.
The dish Darren has come up with is just a better, healthier representation of the Californian dish and by dropping Parmesan in favour of Old Winchester cheese the dish is vegetarian.
You have probably never tried them before but I strongly advise that you give them a try and at £4 its not a stretch - on the Dine Out Club you would actually only pay £2.40 midweek. No Brainer really!
Good for you and delicious - I give you Kalettes with Old Winchester Cheese & Pedro Ximenez.