11 June 2009

Sauteed and Sweet Brussels Sprouts

I've long thought of Brussels sprouts as a fall food... they're hearty, they're healthy, and, when cooked, they emit an earthy stench common of so many autumn produce staples.

And yet, this spring (creeping quickly into summer), I can't get enough of the little buds.

Growing up, I only knew one way to eat Brussels: steamed whole, with a little lemon juice on top to cut the intensity. That's still a great way to eat 'em--and, truthfully, the more healthy preparation.

But lately, it's all about the chop-and-saute method:

I take a handful of Brussels and chop them roughly (imagine you're slicing a carrot or leek--you want rings of Brussels), about 1/4" thick.

Toss into a pre-warmed/olive-oiled non-stick skillet and cook for approx 5 minutes. Keep it on medium heat to start.

Then get creative with sweeteners (just a touch) and spices. For the sweet, I've tried approx 1 Tbsp of honey or brown sugar, and think the brown sugar wins in flavor. For the spice, I like a dash of nutmeg.

Continue sauteing on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the Brussels give slightly to the touch (prod with a wooden spoon, not your finger, to avoid burns!). Think "al dente" texture for pasta.

Now, add a dash of wine or Marsala (maybe 1/8 C.) and let the alcohol cook off - approx 1-2 minutes. I like the rich flavor given by Marsala.

Season with salt/pepper, and serve.

Tasty as a side dish -- and, while I haven't yet tried it, I imagine this would also be delish when tossed with a whole wheat penne as an all-in-one meal.
Also go experimental with add-ins, like chopped pistachios, slivered almonds, or dried cranberries or raisins. Num!
(photo from Wikipedia)

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