Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eat Your Brussels!

Brussels sprouts get a bad rap. Seriously. And I can tell you why.

The first time almost any of us had brussels sprouts, they were overcooked. They smelled of cabbage. Their consistency was a bit, er, slimy. And the flavor. Well, let's just say that their Brassican roots got the best of them.

But, not every brussel sprout dish is created equal. And some can make this humble vegetable taste downright fantastic. This is one of those dishes. So, I want you to listen closely. And open your mind up as far as it will go.

First, you want to start off with the freshest brussels sprouts you can find. These happen to be from a batch I picked up at Saturday's farmer's market on the stalk. I LOVE buying brussels sprouts on the stalk. Not only do they look really cool, but you know they're at the peak of freshness. You want to wash the spouts, peel back any yellowing leaves, and trim off the ends. Then, you'll want to slice each little cabbage in twain.
Heat up a skillet, add a bit of oil, and saute a few onions. When they are starting to get tender, make sure the heat is on the higher end of medium, and add the brussels sprouts. I like to flip them over so that the cut side is down in as many cases as possible, as this promotes the lovely browning you'll see in the photo below. That browning is the beginning of what makes this dish so fantastic. You've never had brussels like this.
Now, when the brussels sprouts look fairly nice and browned, you'll want to add another secret ingredient -- a splash of beer. I like a darker brew here, but almost any beer would work. Splash the beer right into the pan, and cover the brussels sprouts for 5-10 minutes, until they've steamed and are fairly tender. Then get out a block of bleu cheese.

I love this Mindoro Gorgonzola. It has a nice, smooth flavor, and it's just perfect with the brussels sprouts. Now, I don't want to lose you here if you're not a fan of bleu cheese. If that's the case, I want you to substitute a small block of feta cheese.
Either way, cut off a bit of it and make sure it's nice and crumbled.
Then, throw it on top of those unsuspecting brussels sprouts.
When you take your first bite, the salty bleu cheese will greet you on the surface, with the subtle sweetness of the caramelized brussels sprouts lingering underneath. This is the perfect dish to serve alongside anything grilled. But, it also makes for an exceedingly nice topper for baked or mashed potatoes. And, if you have leftovers, they're not half bad piled into an omelette.

I could be wrong. But my bet is this might be just enough to make you rethink your previous opinion of the much-maligned brussels sprouts.


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19 comments:

  1. This is good stuff!! I love my sprouts, I can just imagine what they taste like with the onion and bleu cheese, great recipe, this would be a good side for Thanksgiving!

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  2. Brussels sprouts and I are good buds, and I think we could bond nicely over some beer. This is a nice touch :)

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  3. mmmmmmm...I love me some brussels sprouts :) This recipe sounds fantastic!
    ~rena

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  4. I have to admit that I have tried and tried, but this is one vegetable I can't groove on. Even though I'm a picky eater, I will state for the record that I did give this my best shot.

    I think you have a creative recipe here though. I have never seen anyone make them with beer. I see mostly things like balsamic vinegar and pancetta. I will definitely pass this idea on to my brussels sprouts-loving friends and family.

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  5. What a nice combination, I love the addition of the cheese. I never had a single brussels sprout when I was growing up, but my husband has always loved them. (He called them "little cabbages" when he was a kid-- obviously a kid who loves brussels sprouts because they remind him of cabbage isn't a normal child).

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  6. I love brussel sprouts! The cheese put these over the top!

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  7. I had to eat one with a spider in it once. Fresh from the garden, steamed & served.

    Sorry, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat one again!

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  8. I'm not going to lie, I'm not a fan of cabbage but yet, I love brussel sprouts! And broccoli, cauliflower...I like that there are SO many different ways to prepare it.

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  9. This the first brussel sprout recipe that I've seen with a new twist to it...gorgonzola...me like muchly!

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  10. I have to make these, love the cheese-beer idea.

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  11. I don't think I've ever eaten brussel sprouts.

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  12. Yeah... brussels sprouts need to be discovered by adult palates. My breakthrough came when I tossed them with chopped pecans sauteed in butter. The sweet nuts offset the slightly bitter sprouts perfectly.

    Since then, I've learned the peppery raw sprouts make fantastic coleslaw.

    Now I've got this great gorgonzola trick to try -- of course, I could eat just about anything if it has gorgonzola on top. THANX!

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  13. ohhhh. very interesting way to do brussels! they are a totally misunderstood veggie. i've learned to really love them in the past few years.but they do smell like farts really bad, but luckily they don't taste like farts.

    sorry for being gross. but it'strue.

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  14. What a great idea! I would have never thought of this.

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  15. it's all in the caramelization. brown food tastes good. and then add a little cheese - perfection. it'll make a believer out of anyone. i am already a BS lover. heheh.

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  16. Brussels sprouts with gorgonzola sounds great!

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  17. Ooooh, this sounds too tasty! Can you use a light beer?

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  18. Sue - Any kind of beer would work here. The other night, I used pumpkin ale!!

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