I know what you’re thinking: “No post for a week, and then you give us brussels sprouts?” But I promise, this recipe is a winner. I’m not trying to compare it to a gianduia mousse cake, but don’t be discouraged by the main ingredient.
Children are taught to hate brussels sprouts before ever seeing what these mini cabbages even look like. I’m sure this stems from the days when we used to cook our vegetables for ungodly lengths of time, yielding green beans and asparagus so overcooked that you could turn them into bow ties.
This sort of merciless overcooking preordains a particularly dire fate for the brussels sprout. Brussels sprouts contain high levels of glucosinolates, which contain both sulfur and nitrogen. Brussels sprouts contain several types of these compounds, which makes cooking the sprouts properly a little tricky — one of the major glucosinolates is bitter, but produces a non-bitter product when heated…the other is non-bitter, but produces bitter products when cooked for a long time.
So if you cook them too quickly, or too long, they’re still bitter — you always end up killing one bitter thing but producing another. The sulfur compounds end up forming trisulfides, which are stinky. So basically you feel like you’re eating a forkfull of rotten eggs. Ew.
So needless to say, after decades of cooking brussels sprouts to death, their reputation has been duly tarnished.
But come on folks. It’s almost 2008. We’re not wearing beehive hairstyles anymore either.
Cooked properly, brussels sprouts are wonderful. I’m hardly the first blogger to make this claim. But somehow, despite an abundance of praise throughout the blogosphere, the vegetable’s reputation is still in the dumps.
If they haven’t already won you over, maybe this brussels sprout hash will change your mind. I hope so. The poor vegetable has certainly paid its dues.
Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots
Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2007
Note: My boyfriend and I both loved this dish. Granted, I really like brussels sprouts to begin with, and he LOVES them. But the sweetness of the caramelized shallots paired with the sauteed sprouts gives the dish such a wonderful flavor. You’ll never look at brussels sprouts the same way again! I cut back on the butter and oil a bit from the original recipe, and I don’t think the dish suffered for it.
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water
First, caramelize the shallots. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet. Add the shallots, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper, and saute until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar. Stir until the shallots are brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.
Cut the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Cut each half lengthwise into 1/8″ strips. (Cutting the sprouts can be done in advance.) Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the sprouts and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until they are brown at the edges, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Saute until most of the water evaporates and the sprouts are tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Add shallots, season with salt and pepper and serve!
Yield: 8-10 servings (you can easily cut the recipe in half)