Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Tiny Little Brussels Sprouts

I got these tiny little sprouts from my CSA. Medium sized sprout and US twenty-five cent piece provided for scale. Pretty cute huh? I find sprouts very pretty. I like them well enough as vegetables, but I don’t usually find them as exciting as their leafier and more deeply-flavored cousins, collards and kale. But just look at them—they look so elegant swirling around their stalks in those snazzy spirals.

I once tried to cook Brussels sprouts still attached to the stalk since I thought this would make an impressive presentation. I sawed off the bottom of the stalk to make a flat base, steamed the whole thing upright by making a foil tent over my tallest pot, and then nailed the stalk xmas-tree style to a wooden board. My plan was that we would be able to pluck sprouts from the tree with chopsticks and dip them in vinaigrette, but it turns out Brussels sprouts are fastened onto those little trunks very securely. The sprout-tree was impressive, and once we wrestled the sprouts off the trunk, they were delicious, but I never tried that again.

Here's what I did with this lot:

Braised Balsamic Brussels sprouts

1 pound tiny Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed (or larger sprouts cut into halves or quarters)

Olive oil
1 shallot, minced

2 largish cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water, more if needed
3-4 sprigs parsley, minced, if you have some.

Heat olive oil in a large iron skillet. Add Brussels sprouts, and cook and stir several minutes. Add chopped shallots and garlic, and keep cooking until everything is just beginning to brown nicely.

Turn up the fire, and add balsamic vinegar and water, and cook several minutes until liquid is absorbed; you may want to add more water. Add the parsley and mix.

It is sometimes nice to have toasted crumbs with these, but only if you have really nice fresh crumbs. By fresh, I mean not stale-smelling. Dried bread is fine, but check any ready-made crumbs for an unpleasant stale-bread smell.

Crumbs for sprouts

3/4 cup whole wheat sourdough bread crumbs, or any other bread crumbs

1 teaspoon thyme, crumbled

Olive oil

Mix bread crumbs and thyme with a few tablespoons olive oil. Toast the crumbs on a baking sheet in a moderate oven, stirring once or twice, until golden, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle toasted crumbs over the sprouts and mix.


Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

I love Brussels sprouts, but I stopped eating them a few years ago, because they are so hard to check for bugs.

Do you know where I can get some certified bugless Brussels sprouts?

12:39 PM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Well, you can get certified frozen sprouts, but it's not the same. If you cut off the rough bit on the bottom, peel off the rough or discolored outer leaves, plunge them vigorously into cold water and lift them out and then look at them, I think you are in pretty good shape according to most sources. I will be addressing this issue in the kohlrabi post, coming soon.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Isil Simsek said...

I will try out this! Thanks for sharing.
Btw, I like your photos.

5:56 AM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Thanks, Isil,

I hope you like it.

4:02 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home