Beautiful Brussel Sprouts

Every now and then I get a recipe request from a reader that I just can’t answer. OK, Let me rephrase that, it’s not so much that I can’t answer but rather I don’t want to answer because the food in question is one that I don’t partially like to eat, let alone serve.

Yes, I know that this is childish (as in “YOU CAN”T MAKE ME EAT THIS STUFF MOM!”) But just such a request came across my desk yesterday from a long time reader and I decided to put aside my own prejudice against said food and do the best I could.

            Imagine my surprise and dare I say it, delight when I discovered that my childhood repugnance for the Brussel Sprout was merely a figment of my taste buds imagination and that they were actually quite delicious. What started as a chore became a search for recipes that I knew would be added to my permanent collection.

The Brussel sprout is actually a variety of cabbage.  Much like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and turnips the Brussel sprout is a biennial that produces its “sprouts” in the first year and bears seeds the second year.

“Brussel sprouts of good quality,” according to USDA” are hard or firm, compact, fresh, or bright appearance and of good green color. Those that are wilted or have yellowed leaves are usually aged or stale and should be avoided at all cost. When selecting your Brussel Spouts always try to buy them in bulk as apposed to pre packaged so that you can pick and choose the ones you want. As I said before, larger is not always better, Smaller sprouts usually are milder and sweeter.

So, join me in setting aside my preconceived notions of the Brussel sprout and try the following recipes. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Note: To prepare Brussel sprouts for cooking, trim 1/4″ from the bottom and score the bottoms of the trimmed sprouts with a deep X.

CLASSIC BRUSSEL SPROUTS (pareve or dairy)

4 cups of water

steamer basket

1 lb. Brussel sprouts, trimmed and cut in half 

2 to 3 teaspoon unsalted butter, margarine or olive oil 

 

To prepare Brussel sprouts, trim 1/4″ from the bottom and score the trimmed sprouts with a deep X. Pour the water into a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Place the Brussel sprouts in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover saucepan and steam 8-10 minutes or until Brussel sprouts are tender. Drain, add butter/margarine/olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and toss. Place the Brussel sprouts in a bowl and serve.  Makes 4 serving. This can be doubled or tripled.

BRUSSEL SPROUT SAUTE (meat or pareve)

Not excited by Brussel Sprouts? This method turns the little heads into a deliciously different kind of vegetable dish!

20 to 25 firm, ripe Brussel Sprouts

2/3 cup onion, diced fine

3 tablespoons white wine

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

4 tablespoons margarine

salt and pepper to taste

Using a sharp paring knife cut the stem end off the sprouts, freeing the individual leaves. Carefully remove all of the leaves, cutting the stalk a second time if necessary. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter a heavy skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions until translucent. Quickly sauté the Brussel sprout leaves for a minute or two. Add a pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper and the white wine. Reduce the wine for a minute then add the chicken or vegetable broth, lower the heat and cover. Toss the mixture occasionally and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the margarine to the pan and toss with the sprout leaves. Serve immediately. Serves 4

Note. You can also add 2 cups of cooked white or wild rice to the sauté just before serving and have wonderful side dish for 6 to 8.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH BABY CARROTS (pareve)

A sweet glaze is the perfect accompaniment to the crunch and mellow taste of this paring of vegetables.

1 pound frozen Brussel sprouts

1 (9-oz.) package frozen baby carrots

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon orange rind

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Garnish: grated orange zest

Cook Brussel sprouts and carrots according to package directions and then drain. While the vegetables are cooking, combine the brown sugar, orange rind, and juice in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Keep the mixture warm until the vegetables are done and drained. After the vegetables have been drained pour the brown sugar mixture over them and toss to coat. Server immediately. You can garnish as desired Serves: 4

OVEN ROASTED WINTER VEGETABLES

3 medium onions cut into large wedges

4 small Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold potatoes, halved

1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces

1/2 (8-10) pound Brussel sprouts, halved

2 medium carrots cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 branches fresh thyme

10 fresh sage leaves

2 teaspoons Balsamic vinegar (optional)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 cloves garlic, halved

About an hour before cooking, in a large bowl, toss together all the ingredients up to except the last 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic. Thirty minutes before roasting, preheat oven to 450 degrees and slip in a heavy, large, very shallow baking pan (a half sheet pan is ideal) to heat up. Pour the remaining olive oil onto the hot pan, and then immediately spread the marinated vegetables on the pan, taking care not to crowd them. Roast about 50 to 60 minutes, turning several times during cooking for even browning. Add the cut garlic to the vegetables after about 1/2 hour of cooking, making sure to mix the garlic in with the vegetables. Once browned and easily pierced with a knife, vegetables are done. Serve immediately while the vegetables are hot.  Remember to balance the stronger taste of the rutabaga, celeriac, parsnip, Brussel sprouts and turnips with sweet and rich ones like onion, potato, yam, or carrot. Cut harder vegetables into smaller pieces.  Serves 8. Note: To prepare Brussel sprouts, trim 1/4″ from the bottom and score the trimmed sprouts with a deep X.

CRUNCHY TOP BRUSSEL SPROUTS (pareve or dairy)

3 tablespoons margarine or butter

l l/2 lbs Brussel sprouts

salt and pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup brown breadcrumbs

1/4 cup chopped mixed nuts

the zest of 1 lemon

2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat oven 375. Use 1 tablespoon of the margarine or butter to lightly grease a large 9” X 13” ovenproof dish. (Note: To prepare Brussel sprouts, trim 1/4″ from the bottom and score the trimmed sprouts with a deep X). In a sauce pan combine 4 cups of water and the sugar. Cook the Brussel sprouts in the boiling salted water with the sugar for approx 10 minutes. Drain well and turn into the prepared baking dish. Melt the remaining margarine or butter in a skillet and add the bread crumbs and nuts and cook, over a medium heat until the breadcrumbs and nuts are toasted and until golden. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the finely grated rind from the lemon. Squeeze 1 tablespoon lemon juice over the sprouts and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss the Brussel sprouts and lemon juice so that the Brussel sprouts are coated. Top the Brussel spouts with the crumble mixture and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8. Note: You can replace the nuts with grated cheese and also add a little chopped onion or celery to the bread crumb mixture.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS AND POTATOES (pareve)

1/2 pound (approx 8) new potatoes, halved

8 to 10 Brussel sprouts

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

salt and black pepper

Note: To prepare Brussel sprouts, trim 1/4″ from the bottom and score the trimmed sprouts with a deep X. In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water; bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until fork tender. Add the prepared Brussel sprouts and cook for 5 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. In a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat the oil and sauté the garlic for 3 minutes or until it is just beginning to turn golden. Add the cooked potatoes, Brussel sprouts, 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid, and oregano; add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and heat through, adding more liquid if the mixture looks too dry. Cook approx 8 to 10 minutes and serve hot. Serves 4. This can be doubled or tripled

CARMELIZED BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH PISTACHIOS

4 pounds Brussel sprouts

1/2 cup margarine or butter

4 small red onions cut into strips

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons white sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachios

Note: To prepare Brussel sprouts, trim 1/4″ from the bottom and score the trimmed sprouts with a deep X). Place Brussel sprouts in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover saucepan and steam 8-10 minutes or until Brussel sprouts are tender yet crisp. Melt the margarine or butter in a deep skillet, add the onions and 3 tablespoons vinegar; cook until onions brown. Add the Brussel sprouts, sugar and remaining vinegar. Sauté over medium heat until the Brussel sprouts are lightly caramelized. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the Brussel sprouts from the pan and place them in a serving dish and garnish with the chopped pistachios. Serve immediately. Serves 8 to 10.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Linda Giase
    Apr 10, 2011 @ 01:46:38

    Eileen
    My family has developed a taste for brussel sprouts over the last few years. Here is a link for a recipe we love:
    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Brussels-Sprouts-with-White-Beans-and-Pecorino-233160
    I love when I can buy brussel sprouts right on the stalk!

    Reply

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