when i interview new personal chef clients the two most common things most people say they do not like is curry and brussels sprouts. i have already addressed "the curry issue", and hopefully i have changed your mind about curry with this recipe, this one, this one, or perhaps this one. but today, i tackle the dreaded brussels sprouts.
the poor brussels sprout gets such a bad rap. perhaps it's because many members of my parents generation were force-fed over cooked (usually boiled, yuck) baby cabbage. at a young age, they vow to never eat another frightful, terrible, horrible, no-good sprout. then, when it comes time to cook for their children (my generation), the brussels sprouts never even make it into the house. they never grace the table and often the horror stories are passed down so no one dare eats them.
i am here to change such mentality. in fact, i have yet to feed brussels sprouts to someone who doesn't clear their plate. they often even ask for seconds. my mother is a perfect example of this. up until last night, just the smell of brussels sprouts would make her gag. yes, i was such a child who never ate a sprout until my 20's. she not only ate the super small portion i gave her on her plate, but she also finished a second (regular-sized) helping!
there is something so delicious about caramelized sprouts. let's be serious, caramelized anything is good. if you don't feel like standing over a skillet on the stove, you can reach the caramelization by roasting them in the oven (with same amount of butter and sugar) at 425 degrees F for 5-10 minutes. but watch them carefully as they burn easily.
i hope you'll put aside any brussels sprouts prejudice (if you have any) and give these a try. they are fresh and in-season in january. 2012 just may be the year you learn to love heavenly brussels sprouts!
Caramelized Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Pecans
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 lb brussels sprouts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
rinse sprouts and cut off very end of stem/stump. remove outer leaves and slice into 3 thin rounds.
heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. add garlic and shallot and cook 1 minute. add sliced sprouts and stir well to coat with oil/butter. cook for 3-4 minutes without stirring to let them brown. stir and let sit again 2-3 minutes. once sprouts have browned, add vinegar to deglaze the pan. let cook an additional 2-3 minutes and stir in pecan. serve immediately.