Sunday, December 01, 2013

A Bevy of Beautiful Brussels Sprouts

Before we conclude Thanksgiving 2013, let us take a moment to recognize a petite powerhouse of the holiday table – Brussels sprouts.

Both adored and reviled, the one thing Brussels sprouts will never evoke is indifference. The little cabbage-like buds may have once been cultivated in ancient Rome. While the rich, earthy, complex flavor is often too strong for a young palate, many adults become die-hard fans.  
Regardless of how you feel about the taste, at the CSA, just harvested Brussels sprouts are a showstopper.  My mom describes the stalks as resembling musical sleigh bells. At Restoration Farm, Brussels sprouts are a “micro crop.” They take up quite a bit of valuable land, so a smaller patch is planted later in the season and made available at the annual Thanksgiving distribution for members who have renewed for the upcoming season.  

The mountains of sprouts at the Thanksgiving distribution inspired awe, admiration and delight from members. 
The little buds snapped easily off the stem, and were tender and sweet – a lovely treat to complete the 2013 growing season.  
One of my favorite recipes for Brussels sprouts comes from chef Julia Shanks, the co-author of “The Farmer’s Kitchen – The Ultimate Guide to Enjoying Your CSA and Farmers’ Market Foods.”    Brussels sprouts are sautéed with garlic and oil and then tossed with lemon juice and quinoa. 
I leave the sprouts in the pan as long as possible until they are deliciously crispy, brown and caramelized.  
Quinoa with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (adapted from “The Farmer’s Kitchen” by Brett Grohsgal and Julia Shanks)

½ cup quinoa
½ pound Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil (my olive oil was infused with lemon)
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin or chopped
½ lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup toasted, slivered almonds (optional)

Rinse quinoa under cold water. Put in a small saucepot and cover with water. Add 1teaspoon salt. Cover the pot and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the quinoa has popped and is cooked through. 

Meanwhile, cut Brussels sprouts in half.  If sprouts are larger, slice thin.

Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add the olive oil and let heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until aromatic. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook, stirring regularly until they are bright green and soft (I covered the pan and turned down the heat, stirring occasionally and allowing the sprouts to get crispy-brown). Remove from heat.

When quinoa is cooked, drain excess water.  Toss with Brussels sprouts.  Add juice from ½ lemon and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Stir in almonds, if using. 

For more on the annual Restoration Farm Thanksgiving celebration, visit Edible Long Island.   

©2013 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved   


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Look at those stalks of Brussel sprouts. To find such freshness - what a treat! I like your idea of letting the sprouts get nice and brown. Hope you had a wonderful holiday get-together TW.

Kalyn Denny said...

YUUUUUM! I love brussels sprouts. So far I haven't seen them sold on the stalk here, so I'm jealous. And love the idea of combining with quinoa!

Gloria Baker said...

I love these brussel spprouts look beautiful

Laura Luciano said...

They are so delicious I can eat them raw, shredded in a slaw salad! Happy Thanksgiving TW. Xo

Velva said...

Brussel Sprouts are a beautiful thing. I have always enjoyed them. Growing-up I referred to them as "little brains" Your mother's description of "sleigh bells" is far more elegant (smile).

I do believe brussel sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables. It will be late winter early spring before I can enjoy my bounty from the garden.

Happy holidays.

Zany said...

I recently went to a restaurant that served brussel sprout "chips," where they pulled apart the brussel sprouts, doused them with spices and oil and baked them for a bit...followed by a nice dose of parmesan cheese - amazing!

I assume your stash of sprouts didn't last til Thanksgiving??

Barbara said...

Such a fun photo of the table loaded with sprouts, T.W.
Funny how some people hate them...I still think it all hinges on the preparation, or at least it was the case with my family. Now that we all know to roast or pan fry them,the flavor is divine.
Yours is a pretty dish for holiday tables!

Deana Sidney said...

I've lost count on how many stalks this year. I do believe they are better after a freeze... it concentrates the sweetness. Lovely recipe that I must try.

~~louise~~ said...

Now that is a glorious site, T.W. Just look at those gorgeous brussels sprouts strewn for the giving! I must grown them next year.

I've seen people roast the stalks on the grill. Doesn't that sound amazing!!! Although, I must admit, your toasty Quinoa with Roasted Brussels Sprouts sounds mighty tempting too!!!

Thank you so much for sharing a portion of Restoration Farm's delicious harvest with us T.W. and that recipe!!!

Catherine said...

Dear T.W., A am a fan of this veggie and I like the way you prepared this lovely side.
I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful.
Blessings, Catherine