Adorable in appearance, these tiny cute cabbages are so darling, and I have an absolute soft spot for miniature versions of food. Call me crazy, but I could eat them all year round. Even at the height of summer, when everyone is out on their patios enjoying fresh summer produce, berries, tomatoes, pitchers of sangria, in the back of my mind I'm thinking - I sure could use a big old bowl of sprouts, a little butter, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Nothing too special.
I used to think that it was only appropriate to eat sprouts on Thanksgiving or Christmas - I blame this on my regimented and traditional British upbringing - but then I got a little bit older, out on my own in the real world, and realized that I was so completely wrong. It is completely appropriate to sit down for dinner on the couch, wrapped in a warm fuzzy blanket, with a big steamed bowl of sprouts. Breakfast can be eaten any time of day, and the planets will not collide if we don't sit down for a roast beef dinner every Sunday.
It is extremely important that this year my festive dinner include a side of sprouts, because last year I had too much on my mind, and unfortunately it's the small things that get forgotten. To make up for my mishaps, I went all-out on Christmas day. I dressed the sprouts up real pretty with brown butter and cranberries. I didn't know how this would fare given my family's traditional British roots, but they embraced the change like troopers. I've even had a few requests for the recipe since.
For the past 2 weeks, Trader Joe's has been selling these ridiculous looking brussel sprout stalks, or as Brent puts it 'sprout wands which also double as sprout swords'. We had a few people over this past weekend, and I've never seen such a conversation starter. It's awfully deceiving just how many sprouts grow on a foot-long stalk. I just barely made a dent in my sprout stalk with this 4 serving recipe. I'm now thinking about getting creative next week and shredding them raw into a salad.
In my family, we traditionally eat sprouts boiled, with butter, white vinegar, salt, and pepper. Ever since I can remember, this has been the way. Last year, I was on a brown butter kick. Literally, everything I made had it in the recipe. I tried sautéing some sprouts, after a quick steam, in some delicious nutty aromatic butter, and it worked. The addition of dried cranberries while the sprouts are being steamed adds a delicate sweet flavor. Seasoned with some salt and pepper, and a dash of white wine vinegar, the flavors all compliment each other so well. I added a few sliced almonds for some crunch, but you could also use any nut on hand; walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts. I'm planning to make this dish at Christmas again, and am hoping it becomes somewhat of a family tradition.
BROWN BUTTER SAUTEED BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH CRANBERRIES AND TOASTED ALMOND RECIPE
makes 4 servings
notes: Instead of dried cranberries, use dried figs, dates, or raisins. Add a dash of lemon or orange to enhance the flavors. Sprouts pair well with citrus, butter, and nuts, so substitute for your favorite ingredients on hand.
24 brussel sprouts, halved
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Place the almonds onto a baking sheet, and toast for 10 minutes. Remove and set to the side.
In a large sauté pan on medium heat, steam the brussel sprouts and dried cranberries with 1 1/2 cups of water until all of the water has evaporated. The sprouts should be bright green and tender enough to pierce with a fork. Remove from the pan and set to the side.
In the same pan, add the butter. Watch closely, and when it starts to foam and turn light brown, add the sprouts and dried cranberries. Fry the sprouts on medium heat until they start to brown. Remove from the heat and drizzle with white wine vinegar. Sprinkle with almonds and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
Can be store in the fridge for a couple of days.