Every child has at least one food that is beyond the pale. My childhood culinary bête noire was Brussels sprouts.
I was a confirmed sprout-phobe. And, truth be told, I continued to approach them with more than a little trepidation. However, with this recipe from Chef Carolyn Johnson of 80 Thoreau in Concord, I have finally conquered my most deep-seeded vegetable fear and learned to love these little cruciferous beauties.
“I’ve created a lot of Brussels sprout converts with this dish,” Johnson says, “Many of my family and friends say, ‘Oh, I hate Brussels Sprouts!’ and I tell them, ‘Just try this.'”
The dish is simple, both in terms of ingredients and technique, but it transforms the humble Brussels sprout into a sweet, nutty, delectable treat. The sprouts are caramelized in a hot pan with butter and oil, and then roasted with pine nuts and lots of garlic. The result is pure heaven, a perfect Thanksgiving side dish that’s delicious and healthy to boot.
Here’s the recipe.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pine Nuts and Garlic
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tablespoons pine nuts
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
1. Cut the sprouts into quarters (unless they are very small, then cut in half).
2. Put an oven-safe sauté pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
3. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Swirl the oil around to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the Brussels sprouts. Stir or toss to coat evenly with olive oil. Let the sprouts cook without moving for several minutes.
4. Stir or toss the sprouts, again let them cook without moving for several minutes afterwards.
5. Add 2 Tbsp butter to the pan. When melted, season the sprouts liberally with salt and pepper. Toss or stir to distribute the butter and seasoning. Add the pine nuts. Transfer the pan to the oven.
6. After 8 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and stir or toss the Brussels. Put back in the oven.
7. After 5 minutes, remove the pan again and put back on the stove. Stir or toss the sprouts. Use a spoon or spatula to make a clear space in the middle of the pan. Add the remaining Tablespoon of butter into the space. When melted, add the garlic. Stir to coat the garlic in butter and let cook briefly. Then toss all of the ingredients thoroughly and put the pan back in the oven for 3-4 minutes.
8. Take the pan out of the oven — the sprouts should be a very dark golden and tender all the way through. The pine nuts and garlic should have a light toasting.
Serve as a holiday side, or as an accompaniment to your favorite fall roast.