Friday, October 28, 2011

Roasty Brussels Sprouts

So I think collectively as a culture, we've gotten over our revulsion to Brussels sprouts. If you haven't, maybe it's because you haven't had them prepared the right way – boiling into oblivion is no way to do this noble cruciferous veggie justice. Roasting allows the sprouts to attain a nice texture that's tender, but not too soft, and preparing these little guys with the right mix of flavors helps bring out their natural goodness.

The technique I used with these also works well with roasting or grilling other vegetables – basically, it entails making something like a vinaigrette, then tossing the veggies in it before cooking. Emulsifying everything helps ensure a more even coating than the old "dash on some oil and vinegar and pray" approach. In this case, I'm using bacon fat, because that savory smokiness really adds something to the dish; however feel free to substitute your favorite oil if you're not a bacon fan for whatever reason.

Ready for roasting

Roasty Brussels Sprouts
(all measurements approximate)
1 lb Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp bacon fat, melted (or oil of your choice)
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp coarse-grain prepared mustard
2 tbsp apple cider (if you have it)
Healthy pinch of salt
Few grinds black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425°. Wash the sprouts and DRAIN THOROUGHLY. Trim off the brown ends if present, then split each sprout down the middle top to bottom.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until fully incorporated. Add the sprouts and toss to coat thoroughly. Dump everything out on a cookie sheet, making sure that the sprouts are flat side down and not touching each other. (If there's not enough room for the sprouts to spread out, do two batches or get a bigger pan, because they won't caramelize properly if they're all on top of each other.)

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until sprouts are brown around the edges.

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