Brussels Sprouts 101

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I owe my love of Brussels Sprouts to two people in this world. The first is Chef Kevin Weinberg, owner of the Walnut Creek Yacht Club.  I worked for Kevin years ago and he introduced me to the world of food, flavor and creative cooking.  I was the restaurant hostess, but still had to learn the menu and taste the wide variety of flavors that he created night after night for guests. For staff dinner one night, he put a plate of Brussels Sprouts in the window and if your childhood was anything like mine, your memory of Brussels Sprouts were steamed and soggy things that did not look or taste appetizing.  Well this particular night changed my opinion of these delectable little cabbages.  He roasted them and they tasted nutty and delicious. I have been a fan ever since.

So when the second person, my dear friend Josy, invited me over for dinner one night, we decided to make sprouts for dinner. I didn’t know the proper process for pan roasting them however, and Josy was kind enough to show me her technique. Which is what this recipe is today. Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts in Mushroom Sage Olive Oil and finished with Chocolate Balsamic vinegar. You will never make them another way again, and your family will inhale these delicious and nutritious veggies the minute they are on the plate. Much like I did when Chef Kevin made them and again when Josy made them. And again this afternoon when I made them!

The technique is simple. I simple cut off the bottom of the sprout and then cut it in half, discarding the outer leaves. Coat the bottom of the saute pan in Mushroom Sage olive oil (or your flavor of choice… Butter would be delicious, as would Garlic, Harissa or Tuscan Herb). Place the flat side of the sprout down in the oil and let cook on medium for about 10 minutes. Check the progress by looking to see if they are turning a nice brown (but not too brown, don’t burn them!) Salt and pepper before turning.  When all the halves have reached a nice deep golden brown, flip them over with some tongs, salt and pepper again.  I add a little more oil at this point just to make sure the rounded parts get some delicious flavor too.  Cook for another 5 minutes or so on this side until the rounded parts are starting to brown as well.  About a minute before you take them off the heat, drizzle some Chocolate balsamic vinegar over the sprouts.  The flat part will soak it up and the heat from the pan will help the vinegar caramelize on the outer leaves.  Remove from the pan and serve, making sure that any remaining oil and vinegar in the pan is drizzled over the top.  You can add cheese if you like but these sprouts stand on their own as a delicious side dish.  This will be a family favorite, I promise!

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