Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Green Kitchen: Golden Shredded Brussels Sprouts

Green Kitchen is a bi-weekly column about nutritious, inexpensive, and ethical food and cooking. It's penned by the lovely Jaime Green.

Dear readers, for those of you not living in the Northeast, let me tell you something I just learned: it is FALL! Sure, Utah was having snowstorms two weeks ago, but whatever. In my little world, the seasons just started changing, and hard.

When I told my boyfriend that I could see my breath this morning he was like, “Why are you so excited about it being freezing out?”

“I don’t know.” I thought for a moment. “I guess I really like November?”

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Two weekends ago I texted a few friends a picture of the fall’s first Brussels sprouts at the farmers market, along with the word, “first!”

I know that summer is the season of produce bounty or whatever, and I have enjoyed it. I ate sweet cherry tomatoes like grapes, munched on every color of bell pepper, enjoyed berries and peaches and plums. It was great.

But fall is my favorite season for produce. The first few apples I saw just reminded me of late-winter apple fatigue, but now I’ve been making batches of spicy apple sauce that I’m frankly addicted to. I’m roasting sweet potatoes and sautéing broccoli and there’s a butternut squash on my kitchen table with a date with a (hopefully) sharp knife.

And then there are Brussels sprouts. O, Brussels sprouts, I love them so. I can’t tell how far into the popular consciousness their adoration has spread. It’s like a rumor, passed friend to friend, or admission to the Secret Brussels Sprouts Appreciation Society. “Have you tried roasted Brussels sprouts?” “If you brown them in a pan, they’re better than bacon.” “My mother used to steam them and they smelled like trash, but cooked hot and salty they’re— Oh, sorry, I’m drooling down my shirt.”

So, I want to make sure you’ve heard. When steamed or boiled, Brussels sprouts are gross, deserving of their putrid reputation. But roasted or sautéed, browned and salted just right, they’re— Oh, sorry, I’m drooling down my shirt again.

Beyond that, Brussels sprouts are also a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Thiamine, Folate, Iron, and fiber. They come into season (at least in the Northeast and other similarly climated regions) in mid-October, and last past the frost. Their relatives include cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, and kale, and they do indeed look like tiny cabbages (or brains). They grow on stalks, and sometimes you can buy them that way at the farmers market, and it looks CRAZY.
And that was Brussels sprouts fact-time! Yay!

My go-to Brussels sprout recipe, and what originally converted me to their cult, is Heidi Swansson’s Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts. The cheese is superfluous but the method is perfection – cook halved sprouts with oil and salt, sautéing until they’re carmelized and browned. Crispy outsides, melty insides, addictive throughout. I served them as a side dish when I cooked Thanksgiving at my mom’s house a couple of years ago (everything but the bird), and converted my family in one go.

Sometimes, though, I just don’t have the patience to make sure the cut sides are browned, to find the right balance between thorough cooking inside and out. (Cooking Brussels sprouts too slowly lets the insides steam, giving you that nasty, almost horseradishey flavor.)

(You can also roast these babies in the oven – tossed with oil and salt, laid out on a baking sheet, shaken around once in a while, until browned and delicious. But I’m still living in the land of No Gas to the Kitchen, and a meager few toaster oven-roasted Brussels sprouts is just not enough for my fix.)

So here’s my new favorite way to cook Brussels sprouts – it gives you the pan-sautéed flavor without any of the finicky work.

You shred some sprouts. You heat oil in a pan. You sautee them until they’re done.

Oh, you wanted an actual recipe? Okay. Enjoy. Welcome to the club.

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If you think this looks good, yer gonna love:
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Golden Shredded Brussels Sprouts
serves 2-3


1 lb Brussels sprouts (3-4 cups shredded)
1/8-1/4 t salt
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

Note: if increasing recipe, cook in batches – an overfull pan of sprouts will steam rather than brown.

1) Trim ends and loose leaves off of sprouts. Cut (lengthwise) into thin shreds.

2) Heat olive oil in a wide sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add sprouts and toss with salt and red pepper.

3) Sauté until sprouts are browned in places, about ten minutes.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
129 calories, 7.5g fat, 5.6g fiber, 5.2g protein, $1.51

Calculations
1 lb Brussels sprouts: 132 calories, 0.9g fat, 11.7g fiber, 10.4g protein, $3.00
1/8-1/4 t salt: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.01
dash of red pepper flakes: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.01
TOTALS: 258 calories, 14.9g fat, 11.7g fiber, 10.4g protein, $3.02
PER SERVING (TOTAL/2): 129 calories, 7.5g fat, 5.6g fiber, 5.2g protein, $1.51
PER SERVING (TOTAL/3): 86 calories, 5g fat, 3.9g fiber, 3.5g protein, $1.00

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13 comments:

Dee said...

Love love love this post! I am a member of that society, and you described my past feelings on those tiny little green critters to a T! Can't wait to try this recipe!

Ellen said...

Ha ha. We just made a shredded Brussels sprouts dish for dinner the other night, following a Jacques Pepin recipe. We both like roasted sprouts but somehow they didn't go over as well when shredded. The texture was changed. Yours look good though!

Hannah said...

Thank you so much for another way to eat Brussels sprouts! I adore them... but until now, only boiled with sugar - the sugar (brown or white) makes a major difference. This sounds delicious, too!

Jared said...

Heck yes, I am also pro-brussels sprouts. Can't wait for BS season.
I love heidi's recipe too, that was the first one that got me back on track.
the one that cemented it though, was her caramelized tofu w/ nuts and cilantro and shredded sprouts.
here http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/caramelized-tofu-recipe.html
if you havent tried it and like cilantro, you will like it.

always looking for new ways to cook them up.

Dinetonite said...

Anyway, this sounds like an awesome recipe and I can't wait to make it! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love Brussels, always have always will. My favorite is roasted or sauteed, but sometimes in the winter, I shred them as in this recipe and saute and toss them on a homemade veggie pizza. Pretty good stuff.

Ishani said...

Please don't kill me for asking this, but is there any possibility that this recipe could be adapted for frozen Brussels sprouts?

Sophie said...

I do something similar, but I do it in the oven.

Shredded (or at least cut in quarters) brussel sprouts
Olive oil
Splash of lemon juice
Finely chopped onion and garlic

Cook in oven until browned (toss the maround once or twice)

And at the end, add some more lemon juice, sprinkle with parmesan and broil for a minute or two.

YUMMMMMMMMM

Kelly said...

Brussel sprouts are the Worst Vegetable Ever. I just ate an entire bowl of this. If you are in doubt, try this magic recipe. Seriously. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

I was a Brussels sprout hater until I discovered a similar recipe at Epicurious. You take chopped pecans tossed in a bit of butter, maple syrup and salt, and add it to your sprouts, cooked with a splash of apple cider vinegar. My husband adores it!

Janet said...

I think this might just make it to our Thanksgiving table! I've been looking for simple, healthy & affordable side dish options. I think it's traditional enough :)

Jeanie said...

These were great. I tried them cut in half and didn't like them, but shredded as you recommend--you've made a convert out of me.

Anonymous said...

These were excellent! So easy. I just threw them in the oven and stirred them every once in a while. Njtty and delicious.
Thank you!