Monday, November 9, 2009

Hurry. Brussels Sprouts Season Is Almost Over...

Brussels Sprouts on the stalk and other fall vegetables

Photos (Lexi Van de Walle) - Local Brussels Sprouts

It is that time of year for my favorite vegetable that I used to hate -- Brussels sprouts (yes, they were cultivated in Belgium in the 13th century). I can't get enough of them when they are in season despite vivid memories of gagging on them as a kid. The key to any good recipe is starting with high quality ingredients. Brussels sprouts should be fresh, crisp and green -- do not buy them if they have yellow or brown leaves. I prefer small to medium sized heads which are more flavorful and require shorter cooking times (overcooking releases that sulfurous, "stinky" flavor). And, a recipe that enhances the distinct flavor (too many recipes have bacon in them which, to me, distracts from the delicious flavor). I prefer to dry cook them -- either roasted or sauteed.

And, if you're from the northeast, you MUST buy locally grown -- and soon as the season is over at the end of November -- and preferably from a nearby farm (2% of Brussels sprouts are grown in New York -- Long Island is famous for them -- and 98% in California according to the USDA). In fact, Long Island is so well know for its Brussels Sprouts, there is a Long Island Brussels Sprouts Seed Pack at Seeds of Change.

Friends have been asking me about good side dish recipe for Brussels Sprouts for Thanksgiving. Well here it is -- it's festive yet simple. This is an adaptation of recipe from the Union Square Cafe Cookbook that is guaranteed to be a hit even with the die-hard "I hate brussels sprout" crowd (and be sure not to tell your guests they are healthy). Hashing allows you to minimize the cooking time and maximize the flavor!

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Poppy Seeds
4 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pound of small-medium Brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
2 tablespoons of dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Kosher or sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Juice a lemon and set aside. 2. Discard any discolored leaves and cut off any hard bottoms from the sprouts. 3. Slice Brussels sprouts in 1/8 inch slices or use the slicing blade on your food processor (quick method). 4. Transfer slices into a bowl and add lemon juice and toss the sprouts in the juice. 5. Heat oil and butter over high heat in a large enough skillet so the leaves can brown. When the oil is bubbling (be careful not to burn), add garlic, sprouts, and the poppy seeds. Stir often, until sprouts are wilted and begin to brown -- about 4 or 5 minutes. 6. Add the wine, salt and pepper and continue to stir. 7. Put in a serving bowl and stir in lemon zest and more salt and pepper, to taste. If there is any leftover lemon juice it can be added.

Low in calories and packed with dietary fiber, Brussels Spouts are rich in Vitamins A, C and K, and Potassium and Folate. The antioxidant sulforaphane, in Brussels Sprouts is an anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-mircrobial compound that is found in other cruciferous veggies such as
cabbage, broccoli, and kale.

No comments: