Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Sweet Citrus Brussels Sprouts

I never ate Brussels sprouts until I was an adult. Growing up, I probably felt the same way as most people do - Brussels sprouts are gross (even though I'd never had them)! They get a bad rap.

But I fell instantly in love the first time I ever had them. This is how they were prepared that time, and this is how I always prepare them, although I love to eat them many other ways, too. If you've never given Brussels sprouts a second glance, give them a shot! Try them this way, and I guarantee you'll be a convert.

Sweet Citrus Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4ish

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 2-3 Tbs. butter or olive oil
  • 1 half lemon (or the whole lemon if it's not that juicy)
  • About 1/4 - 1/2 cup nuts of any kind (sliced almonds, whole almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts - whatever is floating around in your pantry)
  • Honey or Maple syrup
  • Coarse salt
Start with a pound of Brussels sprouts. This could feed 4-6 people as a side dish, but I usually make this amount just for Ted and me (there's always a little leftover, which makes a great snack!).

Wash your Brussels sprouts, then cut off the ends, and cut each one in half from top to bottom. The Brussels sprouts in the stores right now are small, but in the summer when they're HUGE I usually make an extra cut to quarter each one. They cook more thoroughly that way.

Once your Brussels sprouts are cut, melt a couple tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet. You can use olive oil, but Brussels sprouts are such a decadent vegetable, why not go for real butter this time?

When the butter has melted, toss the cut Brussels sprouts around the pan until they're all coated. Then spread them out to make sure you're making the most of that hot pan surface.

Flip them around occasionally to evenly brown them. The more they brown, the sweeter they get. Once they start to brown, toss a handful of nuts in - this gives the nuts time to get a little toasty, too.

Keep cooking those Brussels sprouts and nuts until they're as brown as you want them, tossing them occasionally. I consider mine done when they're bright green, pretty well browned, and starting to get soft. This takes 5-10 minutes on the stovetop. You can always taste one to see if they're cooked through - be careful, though, they're hot!

Once they look done to you, turn off the heat and drizzle in about a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup.

Stir that around to evenly coat (there should be enough residual heat in the pan for the honey or maple syrup to sizzle). At this point I usually taste one of the loose Brussels sprout leaves to see if I added enough honey or maple syrup. Be careful not to over-sweeten! You want just enough sweet to bring out the flavor of the Brussels sprouts.

Finally, season with coarse sea salt and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the top. Once you've mixed in the lemon juice, transfer the Brussels sprouts to a serving dish. You don't want the citrus lingering in the hot pan or it will turn bitter.

E voila! A delicious side dish for your next meal. I hope you give it a try!

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