Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Eat Your Brussels!
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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