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Recipe Fri Nov 23 2007
A photo in the November Bon Appétit was gorgeous - luscious green brussels sprouts, thinly sliced, almost looking shredded, aside golden caramelized onions in a large white bowl edged with a deep blue stripe on top of simple kitchen workspace. It's the photo for their recipe of Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots. When I'd gone to Green City Market, handfuls of super fresh little Brussels sprouts seemed true to the image in the photo. I bought a pound of them at Nichols Farm's tent and commented on their size - most about 3/4-inch in diameter. One worker told me that he doesn't peel these small ones - just wash and cook. I asked about dark spots I saw on the surface. Another told me they don't spray and suggested that it wouldn't be good if there weren't marks. I needed one and one-half pounds for the recipe as is, so I adjusted all quantities by two-thirds.
In the first paragraph of Bon Appétit's instructions, you sauté shallots in butter melted on medium heat with salt and pepper, "until soft and golden, about 10 minutes." In my first deviation from the instructions, I took yellow onions instead on shallots. I'd purchased them from another market stop, Genesis Growers. Then, in my second change, I used olive oil for butter. The recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of it - 3 tablespoons now for the shallots and the other half for cooking the brussels sprouts later. I used it all right here for the onions - 4 tablespoons of oil in my two-thirds recipe.
To finish the onions, I needed to add vinegar and sugar, and "stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes." I was distracted gazing at my brussels sprouts and forgot I was using just 2/3 the recipe. I'd just halved the sprouts, and then sliced them into thin strips. In pieces like that, I was amazed at how much they reminded me of chopped pistachios - bright green with lighter shades and whites mixed in. I mixed in a full 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and 4 teaspoons of sugar. The extra lent a bit of extra sour. I failed to notice that the recipe seemed to suggest constant mixing of the sugar. Perhaps my lack of frequent stirring is why my onions turned out a bit candied.
Paragraph two of the recipe gets to the sprouts, starting with olive oil. I figured that I'd already used enough oil, so I scooped the finished onions from their pan with a slotted spoon, put them aside, and used the remaining oil mixture in the pan for the sprouts. With the oil hot over medium-high heat, I added the sprouts with salt and pepper and sautéed "until brown at edges, 6 minutes." I stirred in 1 cup water, omitted the butter, and cooked until most of the water evaporated. It took longer than the said 3 minutes to evaporate, because I hadn't taken two-thirds of the water. I turned the heat up a notch and finished them. I sat down with a bowl of the lovely green sprouts over leftover brown rice and mixed in my candy-like onions. I liked the crunch.
For more Brussels sprouts recipes, look to both Heidi Swanson and December's Fine Cooking magazine. Swanson's favorite Brussels sprouts recipe yields "vibrant green, tender brussels sprouts that become deeply golden and crusty where they touch the pan." Heidi tips us to buying small, tightly closed Brussels sprouts, and then makes cooking them sound just about as easy as halving, oiling, searing, salting and flipping them. Fine Cooking gives one recipe each for roasting, sautéing and braising. First, they roast the sprouts, quartered and tossed in a mixture of Dijon, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and caraway seeds. Then they serve the brown and crispy sprouts sprinkled of breadcrumbs sizzled in oil and butter and chopped, toasted walnuts. Their next recipe sautés shredded sprouts with fresh herbs and fried shallots. Their final recipe calls for braising sprouts with broth. The explain how it's good to quarter sprouts for the oven, "shredding in quick, high-heat sauté" and using sliced sprouts for braising.