It’s true. I mean it, these are the best brussel sprouts…okay, well let’s be fair, we live in ‘Mmmerica so I would say diplomatically these are in the top 5 list of best brussel sprout recipes. Happy? Good. That’s all I care about: your happiness and for my dogs to think I am still the best part of their day.
Back to the sprouts. We all know these little guys have been making a “comeback” for a while now, I was even told that by one unnamed produce creeper at my local Whole Foods (read about it here). The rapid turn-around from being the most hated to the most loved vegetable has always dumbfounded me. Did no one think to roast these little guys before the year 2000?! The flavors of a perfectly roasted brussel sprout is something to be savored. Roasted or sauteed brussel sprouts pair beautifully with smoky flavors like bacon, and their naturally sweet, nutty undertones are elevated when paired with something fruity like dried apricots or thick syrupy balsamic.
My go to recipe was simply to roast them. Simple. Easy. Then I was introduced to what I thought was the most delicious way to consume this vegetable. I went to a party a couple months ago and none other than Chef Alex Guarneschelli was there casually cooking in the kitchen. I walked in and nearly collapsed. I went full Californian on her and was like “WHHHATTT ARE YOU DOIN HERE?!?”
Alex was preparing little crostini with ricotta cheese, pancetta and these delicately roasted shaved brussel sprouts. Damn it, those brussels had my name written all over them. I went over a snuck a spoon full of sprouts on my plate so could get a taste. WOH. They were unlike anything I have had before. They were smoky yet sweet, crunchy yet soft, what was going on?!?!?! I asked her how she cooked the brussel sprouts and she graciously shared her recipe with me. Now, if you are at all familiar with Alex Guarnashcelli and the way in which she describes food you are very well aware that she can make any type of food sound enticingly sexual. There is just something about her careful word choice, and inflection on certain syllables that paints a picture of a beautiful and sexy food experience. She is like the Mother Goose of the culinary world, if Mother Goose only read 50 Shades of Grey.
I am not going to try and replicate her vernacular, because I won’t be able to do her justice. This was her rundown of the process:
First you have cut the brussel sprouts as thin as possible. A mandoline works best but if you can’t get your hands on one then thinly slice with a knife.
When cooking the sprouts the goal is to get them to have both a smoky charred and a caramelized flavor. To achieve this start by putting the sprouts in a very hot DRY (meaning no oil) saute pan, and lets them char a bit on the bottom.
Then move them around to let the sprouts on top get a little char-loving too. After that add a touch of oil, and a pinch of salt. This will start the caramelization process. Cook them until they are just al dente and have a gorgeous two toned quality to them. The smell is unique, almost like freshly popped popcorn; it’s a crazy sensory overload.
I have made these brussel sprouts now about 100 times, and they never fail to be incredibly delicious. I have clients, friends, and family constantly asking me to make these for them. PLUS, I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t inhale them. Even the pickiest of eaters have dubbed these as good eats. I always make more than I need because there can never be enough and they make fantastic left overs too! I often drizzle a light ribbon of balsamic glaze on the top, or add some finely chopped toasted almonds. I even get cray sometimes and add sauteed finely diced apples…yes I just used the word “cray” and yes I hate myself for it.
Sometimes I make a big batch of these brussel sprouts, put a poached egg on top and call that dinner, or breakfast….or lunch. I would like to follow up that statement with the fact that I am very single and live alone. SO I would say I WIN. Don’t believe me read here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/erinlarosa/the-24-most-underrated-parts-of-being-single.
I don’t suggest you consuming a whole bowl of brussel sprouts and an egg unless you are very very comfortable with your significant other. Y’all catch my drift? Cool. So…yah…let me leave this post on that painfully uncomfortable note…..
Until next time friends,
Roasted Shaved Brussel Sprouts
- 1 1/2- 2 pound brussel sprouts (once shaved this will yield approx 1 pound)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Using a mandoline, shave the brussel sprouts on the thinest setting allowed. (the size will vary for different tools).
- Place shaved brussel sprouts in a bowl of cold water and rinse and drain thoroughly. Lay the veggies out on towels to dry.
- Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add shaved brussel sprouts and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the bottoms start to get slightly “burned”.
- Stir and continue to cook for another minute or so.
- Add in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and stir to coat evenly. If pan still looks a little “dry” add a couple more tablespoons of oil. Add pinch of salt and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!