We can never say enough about the proximity between cabbages and everything that gets dirty, smoked, in food. What would a hotpot be without its Montbéliard sausage, sauerkraut without its Frankfurt, Brussels sprouts without their smoked bacon? No doubt an edible food but made bovarysante by the lack. In the kitchen, it is always risky to separate the couples. Of those which refer to characters, to soils and to a common history.
Thus cabbage and smoked have rather humble origins in common, but a generous nobility on the plate. The first is a sentinel of the winter gardens while the second often refers to all the blessed pieces of the pig, that pantry on legs of cold days. Marry them and you get these frichtis which feed you as much as they reassure you when the gray months put your morale down. It is also the sacred union of tastes that delights you, that frank and green cabbage which has this incredible capacity to sublimate the flavors of its coturne in the pot when it is imbued with the scent of wood-smoked Morteau and softwood sawdust.
The meatballs of our dreams
What is more, cabbage and smoked can also bring about connections between land and sea. Red cabbage likes savory herring, sauerkraut goes wonderfully with smoked fish. Today, we are offering you a delightful recipe for “haddock-Brussels sprouts” unearthed in the brilliant book the Dumplings of our dreams by Déborah Dupont-Daguet (1), about whom we have already said a lot. The author, pillar of the Librairie gourmande in Paris, explains: “I admit a passion for haddock, with its smoky taste and its texture that lends itself to a lot of preparations. The marriage with Brussels sprouts is a classic for this fish. It is a vegetable that we too rarely think of slicing and cooking quickly in a sauté pan, but which thus complements risottos particularly well. So here is an association that gives tasty, complete meatballs, perfect for a dinner aperitif. “
For its recipe, you need : 250 g Brussels sprouts ; 200 g of haddock ; 20 g + 35 g salted butter ; 25 cl of milk + 10 cl for poaching ; 120 g risotto rice (round arborio type rice) ; 35 g flour ; dill, flat-leaf parsley ; pepper or nutmeg.
Melt 20 g of butter in a sauté pan. Remove the outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts by cutting off the end of the core. Cut them in half and slice them. Add them to the sauté pan and fry them for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, poach the haddock in a mixture of water and simmering milk. Drain it, remove the skin and any bones and crumble it. Cook the rice for the time indicated on the bag (this differs depending on the brand).
In a saucepan, melt 35 g of butter, add the flour and mix to obtain a kind of breadcrumb. Then pour 25 cl of milk little by little, diluting with a whisk to avoid lumps, and cook the béchamel over low heat until it thickens. Pepper.
In a large salad bowl, mix the rice, Brussels sprouts and haddock. Add the béchamel, chopped dill and parsley. Mix well and let cool in the refrigerator. This pause time is important because it allows the meatballs to stick while cooking.
Preheat your oven to 210 degrees. Using a large ice cream scoop, shape balls the size of a clementine. Arrange them on a baking sheet and bake for fifteen minutes and turning halfway through cooking.
It’s your turn ! If you would like to submit your own recipe to us, you can send it to us at [email protected], by specifying, in three words or in one hundred, what it represents for you, whether it is a family recipe, a dish that you have adapted from a cookbook, a recipe from a friend’s house, if it reminds you of a particular episode in your life …
(1) The Dumplings of our ultimate dreams, textures and techniques by Déborah Dupont-Daguet, photographs by Géraldine Martens, ed. First, 2020, 18.95 euros.