Sunday, April 5, 2009

momofuku ssäm bar brussels sprouts

Momofuku Ssäm Bar brussels sprouts. Photo by roboppy.

The first time we served these, they appeared alongside Moro’s butternut squash, chickpea and tahini salad.

It was a mistake.

The lesson—and this is as much a tribute to the dish as it is a criticism: these sprouts are lousy with fish sauce. That is the secret to their addictive, lip-smacking umaminess. But it’s also why they tend to drown out the nuance in any accompanying dish. I would recommend serving them with some rice, and maybe a roast chicken—something comfortable with a supporting role (or at least with a complementary palette of flavors).


Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Adapted from Gourmet, October 2007

I followed the recipe pretty closely but cut down on the fish sauce a bit, and just glazed the sprouts with the dressing (which meant lots of dressing leftover).

For brussels sprouts

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce (preferably Tiparos brand)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1 1/2-inch) fresh red Thai chile, thinly sliced crosswise, including seeds
Garnish: cilantro sprigs; torn mint leaves; chopped scallions

For puffed rice
1/2 cup crisp rice cereal such as Rice Krispies
1/4 teaspoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice blend)


Roast brussels sprouts:

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in upper third.

Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, then arrange, cut sides down, in a 17- by 12-inch shallow baking pan. Roast, without turning, until outer leaves are tender and very dark brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Add butter and toss to coat.


Make dressing:

Stir together all dressing ingredients until sugar has dissolved.


Make puffed rice while sprouts roast:

Cook cereal, oil, and shichimi togarashi in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking skillet and stirring, until rice is coated and begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally.


Finish dish:

Put Brussels sprouts in a serving bowl, then toss with just enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with puffed rice and serve remaining dressing on the side.


Cooks' notes:
·Puffed rice can be made 3 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
·Dressing, without mint and cilantro, can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature and add herbs before using.
·Brussels sprouts can be roasted 4 hours ahead. Chill, uncovered, until cool, then cover. Reheat, uncovered, in a 350°F oven until hot, 10 to 15 minutes.
Roast brussels sprouts:
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in upper third. Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, then arrange, cut sides down, in a 17- by 12-inch shallow baking pan. Roast, without turning, until outer leaves are tender and very dark brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Add butter and toss to coat.

Make dressing:

Stir together all dressing ingredients until sugar has dissolved.

Make puffed rice while sprouts roast:
Cook cereal, oil, and shichimi togarashi in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking skillet and stirring, until rice is coated and begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally.

Finish dish:

Put Brussels sprouts in a serving bowl, then toss with just enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with puffed rice and serve remaining dressing on the side.

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