Saturday, December 7, 2013

Brussels Sprouts Redux

Today at the Farmers Market in the nearby town to Darlington I was pleased to find that fresh Brussels sprouts were still available, even though there is now a dusting of snow on the ground in the Hudson River Valley.  As I've written before, Dear Reader, Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables.


It was only as an adult that I learned that the little darlings grow on a stalk.  As a child I knew them only from the frozen packages that MD bought at our local supermarket.  By the time I entered college I learned they were also available in an unfrozen state, usually packaged in little paper buckets sealed with cellophane.

Today I prefer whenever possible to buy Brussels sprouts on the stalk, as I know they will be the freshest of all.  Fortunately one can find them that way at our local Farmers Market in late autumn, when they are in peak season.


We like to roast or sautée Brussels sprouts at Darlington, preferring these methods of cooking to steaming them or, as MD did, boiling them in water.  As I've written before, MD was an uninspired cook, and her Brussels sprouts (along with most of the vegetables she cooked) were a soggy, sodden affair.


I'm sure that MD would approve of the way we cook Brussels sprouts today at Darlington, which is to toss them with olive oil, liberally season them with ground pepper and salt, and (often) combine them with other winter vegetables (I'm showing them here with shallots).  Roasted in a hot oven until caramelized and tender, they are positively ambrosial.

Heaven!

Photographs by Boy Fenwick

24 comments:

  1. I had brussel sprouts today, in fact.
    One of my absolute favorites as well.

    I roast mine, always with garlic, a drizzle of butter and parmesan shavings.

    Manda from Eat Cake

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    Replies
    1. Hello Manda,
      I have never thought to add parmesan. That is a lovely idea. Must try it. Reggie

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  2. More information please - oven temperature and time? Thank you - yours look delicious!

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    Replies
    1. Hello JTC -- When roasting any winter or root vegetable (carrots/turnips/etc.) we generally set our oven to 400 degrees (maybe 450 at the hghest). Roasting time depends on the size and tenderness of the vegetable, anywere between 30 and 45 minutes. Thanks, Reggie

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  3. Replies
    1. Hello DTC,
      Do you mean to braise in the sense of the way French use do, which is to cook over coals, or in the English sense, which is to cook slowly in liquid in a covered pot? (I suspect the former...) Reggie

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    2. Over coals (or wood embers). It adds to the flavor.

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  4. Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorites too, and your description has my mouth watering. I'm going to have to try your method. I've been cutting in mine in half, steaming and then sauteeing in olive oil, finishing up with a toss in some balsamic vinegar. I'm the only one in my house who will eat them.

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    Replies
    1. Hello UF: I agree that cutting the larger ones in half makes them even more delicious, as the flat surface caramelizes wonderfully! Reggie

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  5. Um, RD ! How divine! I had served them with a risotto with asparagus and grilled shrimp, marinated in cilantro- but I think mine were done in the microwave? They were still good, but your farm to table roasted with shallots in olive oil do sound like a true delicacy! Will try soon!
    Dean

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    Replies
    1. Hello Dean, your recipe sounds marvelous! I adore Risotto. Never thought to make one with these little darlings... Reggie

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  6. I just bought some and will try them just like that!

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    Replies
    1. Roxie: Trust me, you'll like them! Reggie

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  7. Dear Reggie,
    I also love Brussels sprouts and the way you prepare them. Our Trader Joes often has them available on the stalk.

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Karena,
      How fortunate you are to have a Trader Joe's. I understand it is a marvelous store. Reggie

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  8. Adore them - roasted with concord grapes or figs....

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  9. My husband's from Belgium and his first love is Brussels sprouts. They always find a prominent place on a holiday buffet. I often saute them with pancetta and they are wonderful. I will be trying your recipe Reggie as I love to roast vegetables and cooking anything in the oven is far easier than on the stove. Poor MD. There is no one to defend her.

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  10. My ex said he hated brussels sprouts. I was evil and made them sliced and roasted and called them petit choux... little cabbages. He loved them. He actually laughed at the deception. From then on, they always grew in the garden. I think they are best after a freeze or 2. I am on my 8th stalk of the season and had them last night with pecans... so good. I have had them frozen but they were dreadful. Fresh is best.

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  11. Oh how I love Brussels sprouts! Growing up in England, this was the vegetable I associate most with our Christmas day dinner, except back then, boiling to death was the accepted way of cooking them. In my kitchen, I too roast our sprouts, but I never thought to include shallots with them. I do include Brussels sprouts in a winter roasted root vegetable dish I make, and also my husband came up with a fabulously tasty way of preparing them with red onion and Dijon mustard of all things. Tangy and tasty!

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  12. I was a victim of many nights sitting at the table, waiting to finish that last sprout before i could be excused, long after everyone else had gone. They were always boiled to within an inch of their lives, or pressure cooked.

    I didn't eat them again after leaving home until a few years ago when the Chefs cooked them for me doing the roasting method, and I discovered I actually liked sprouts!

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  13. Reggie you did not grow up in the middle part of the US by any chance did you....that overcooked pile of mush sounds very familiar...I too love brussel sprouts (preferably on the stalk) roasted now as well. They are barely a resemblance of the ones I grew up with....

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  14. Try with a little balsamic vinegar....
    Mary

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  15. Oh they are my favorite also! Isn't it wonderful that we have learned to roast our vegetables as opposed to the old boiling method!

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  16. Great post, Reggie, and I had to laugh as I remembered having a brussel sprout for the first time. Being taught to try anything put in front of me, as a very young adult and guest for dinner at the home of a friend, I was presented with a serving of brussels sprouts as part of a boiled dinner with ham. I almost dared to say "no thank you" but steeled myself and took a taste....I've never looked back from the rapture!! I love them anyway they are prepared, from the most decadent preparation to simply steamed. Perfection!

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