On the cabbage family and comfort

This week my boyf, Dan, was on another four-day field trip. Last time I coped with really rich brownies. This time, for whatever reason, I used...brussels sprouts?? Who thought that a crucifer could give as much comfort and satisfaction as chocolate?

But whatever, they are so delicious roasted. Monday night I had them in a roasted veg medley (with potatoes, garlic and carrot, nosy!) with a honey mustard sauce. And it was good.

But Tuesday's cole crop special, which featured a balsamic reduction enriched with heavy cream and a crumble of Spanish bleu cheese, was even better. Nigh perfect, even. I hope I can recreate it now that Dan's back...he was really disappointed that we didn't get to cook the brussels before he left.


This would be a really great fall side dish, says I. Brussels sprouts are a brassica family vegetable, so they're never gonna get the spotlight at your dinner party--plus it kinda looks like camouflage (cute, baby cabbage-looking camouflage, but still). Even so, the taste is fantastic...sweet and a little tangy with an unusual sort of peppery flavor from the cheese.

(BTW does anyone know if this is a common feature of blue cheese? We got a wedge of Valdeon the other day and the spiciness is so prominent--I'd never noticed that before. Doing my research I've found that Cabrales is known for its spiciness, and Valdeon is supposed to be Cabrales' tamer cousin.)

Anyway so here's how it went down. First I did the roasting: spruced up and halved 8 sprouts or so (cooking for one, poor me). Threw them in a small roasting pan with a few cloves of garlic. Tossed with a spot of olive oil and a light grind of sea salt. Put 'em in a 200C oven until they started getting some really nice color on 'em. (Ah, just thinking about the gorgeous caramelization brussels are wont to do in the oven just makes me smile. ) I stirred once during the roasting so they'd get browner and more evenly so.

Once they were about done, I turned off the oven but left them in there while I reduced a little bit of balsamic (just enough to cover the bottom of a small pot--one person here!) with a dash of sugar until syrupy. I retrieved the roasted garlic cloves from the pan, peeled and smashed them, and added to the reduction. Then I stirred in a few dabs of heavy cream and maybe a tablespoon of the Valdeon (you don't need a lot, trust me!).

I ended up thinning the stuff with a couple teaspoons of water (didn't want to add more cream because I wanted to keep the nice dark brown sauce pretty clear). Then I dumped the sprouts into the sauce and stirred it all up. Dumped it into a bowl and cozied up with it, impressed with myself.

brussels sprout bokeh??


P.S. I was able to recreate this for my dear friend Ewelina (who brought me some lovely Polish and Hungarian chocolates!) and she liked it! Reproduceability--such a good thing! (But maybe not a word.)


Natasha said...

This blog is so stellar. Do a post about squash!

Chocolatesa said...

Ahhh, yet another recipe to add to my mile-long list to make! I think I'll bump it to the top... looks sooooo delicious! I just had dinner and I'm still drooling lol.

We Are Never Full said...

ok, first post i read and it just happens to be about one of my fave things - sprouts. the way you carmelized them is perfect. my favorite way of eating them. this thanksgiving i turned on a table of 'haters' b/c they only ever had them boiled!

Heather said...

Brussels sprouts are gorgeous and I love them. They're worth the spotlight.

Anonymous said...

I hope this note finds you well. I am the Managing Editor of the book One Big Table, by Molly O’Neill (Simon & Schuster 2010)

You might remember Ms. O’Neill from her many books and 10 years a the New York Times food section and magazine.

One Big Table is a portrait of America at table and ten years of research
in the making. It covers America in every geography, ethnicity, culture,
religion, history through the recipes of what we call “the glorious

We are desperately trying to quickly tie up some missing recipes, and we really need one for Brussel Sprouts and I saw you have a lovel one on your blog. We’d like to itnerview you and get the recipe if you are willing to let us use it. You’d get credit for the recipe and your story would accompany it as a headnote. The only caveat is that we cannot use professional cooks and you have to be located in the USA. A reporter would interview you or we could do it by email and it would only take about 20 minutes of your time either way.

Please le me know you would like to participate.