Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brussels Sprouts: Mmmm, Good.

Brussels sprouts may not be on the top of your list when it comes to vegetables. In “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” one of my favorite books from childhood, the people of the land of Chew and Swallow lost their appetites when overcooked broccoli and Brussels sprouts rained down from the sky. What a pity.

It’s too bad that these little guys have been villainized so, the item your mom made you eat (fingers pinching your nose) to earn your dessert. Brussels sprouts are cute—the ultimate petit chou—and once you learn to cook them properly (ie: not boiled or steamed like your mother used to make ‘em) they will become the most surprising vegetable to grace your table. Promise.

This recipe for Shaved Brussels Sprout and Shallot Sauté has been tested in the presence of picky kids and adults who swore up and down that they’d never like it—and then promptly polished off the entire panful. Adapted from a recipe in Bon Appétit magazine, the addition of golden raisins adds an unexpected sweetness that’s just right.

Shaved Brussels Sprout and Shallot Sauté

• 1 3/4 pounds brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and bottoms trimmed off
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 12 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about 2 cups) –or- 1 large, thinly sliced sweet
onion if you want to save a few bucks.
• 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted, divided
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1/3 cup golden raisins


1. Working in small batches, place Brussels sprouts in feed tube of processor fitted with thin slicing disk; slice. (I may be the only schmuck I know who still doesn’t own a food processor. Slicing these thinly with a chef’s knife works just fine too.)

2. Melt butter with olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add Brussels sprouts; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pine nuts, raisins and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon pine nuts and serve.