Monday, December 28, 2009

brussels sprouts, three ways

I recently learned there is a scientific explanation for brussels sprout dissenters. Apparently, it’s a condition common among supertasters, whose abundance of taste buds makes them particularly sensitive to the bitter compounds in certain vegetables (tiny cabbages included). Which, frankly, sucks for them. I would gladly trade a hypersensitive palate for a plate of roasted brussels sprouts.

Below are a few of my favorite recent renditions.

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts

We dressed up these Christmas dinner sprouts with buttery chestnuts. Pancetta or bacon would make another nice addition.

2-3 pounds brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved lengthwise
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup peeled and roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Toss the brussels sprouts in a bowl with just enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Arrange the sprouts in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, or until fork-tender and some of the leaves have become caramelized.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chestnuts and stir until glazed. Add the roasted brussels sprouts and thyme, if desired. Toss to combine. Test for seasoning and serve.


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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts and Pecorino
Adapted from Andrew Feinberg

Further proof of my nut + vegetable formula. The recipe comes from Franny’s restaurant in Brooklyn, which is always a good thing.

1/2 cup walnuts
24 Brussels sprouts, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Aged pecorino Toscano cheese for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Toast the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet for about 10 minutes, or until they smell toasty; set aside. Crumble them when they're cool enough to handle.

Turn the oven up to 450 degrees.

Toss the Brussels sprouts in a bowl with enough olive oil to coat each sprout, 2 to 3 tablespoons. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the sprouts in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes, or until fork-tender and some of the leaves have become crunchy.

Let the sprouts cool on the baking sheet, then toss in a large bowl with the walnuts. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, add a squeeze of lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Shave some of the cheese on top and serve warm.

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Braised Brussels Sprouts With Pancetta And Toasted Bread Crumbs
Adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques, by Suzanne Goin

Goin is an expert at layering flavors and textures, but here the pancetta almost overwhelms the flavor of the brussels sprouts. (Which may or may not be a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.) I think I’ll reduce the amount of pancetta next time.


Serves 6

1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
2 teaspoons thyme leaves
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds baby brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed (cut larger ones in two)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 ounces pancetta in small dice
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup veal stock or rich chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix bread crumbs and thyme with 1/4 cup olive oil, and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast, tossing frequently, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Heat butter and remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foamy. Add brussels sprouts, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté, tossing frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add diced pancetta, and sauté, tossing frequently, until sprouts are well browned and softened slightly and pancetta is crisp, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, add shallots and garlic, and sauté until fragrant.

Increase heat to high, add balsamic vinegar and stock, and cook, tossing frequently, until sprouts are glazed and tender, about 10 minutes; add more stock if needed. Taste for seasoning, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Transfer to a warm serving bowl and scatter bread crumbs on top.

1 comment:

  1. Brussels sprouts three ways--that is, using all three recipes above--could very well be the ideal winter veggie smorgasbord.

    ReplyDelete