Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Butter, Lemon, Dijon and Capers

Brussels Sprouts might be most under-appreciated and most detested vegetable on the planet.  It's a sad and unfortunate truth!  I think I know why these poor little cruciferae suffer from such misguided hate.  It started a long time ago... In a kitchen near you...  a pile of pale green, boiled to death, mushy mini cabbages sitting lifelessly on a plate with a weird cabbage-y bitter smell filling the kitchen, cutting through whatever else was cooking that made you instantly un-hungry for dinner.  Dinner hopes dashed, appetite gone.  This, I believe, is how most of us were served our Brussels sprouts back in the day.  And it wasn't good.  Or pretty.

Now, let's start over.  Close your eyes and imagine beautifully roasted, slightly caramelized and glistening, beautiful baby Brussels sprouts rolling around in a delightful, aromatic combination of garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon juice and capers, oh, and butter.  Roasted first, then left to steam so that each bite is perfectly al dente.  Not squishy mushy and not hard and under cooked, but just right.  Welcome to the new millennium of The. Brussels. Sprout.

I bought Brussels sprouts on the stem this time, which does make a huge difference in flavor.  If you can, buy them this way and snap them off, and trim the excess stem.  Cut the larger sprouts in half and keep the smaller ones, towards the top, whole. 

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Butter, Lemon, Dijon and Capers
Serves 4-6 as a side

About 3 cups Brussels Sprouts, larger ones cut in half, smaller ones left whole
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.
On a large sheet pan, spread out Brussels Sprouts and drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Shake pan around to coat and distribute oil.  They should not over lap, otherwise, they will steam instead of roast.  Keep a single layer of b. sprouts.  You may need 2 sheet pans for this.
Roast for about 30 minutes, tossing them around every-so-often.  They should look  slightly browned and getting soft.

In the meantime, prepare the Dijon/Butter Dressing:

4 TBLS butter,  at room temperature
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBLS Dijon mustard
1 TBLS fresh lemon juice
2 TBLS capers (or more to your liking)

Combine  everything in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Once the Brussels Sprouts are out of the oven, place them in a large bowl and toss in Dijon/Butter dressing.  Roll around to coat and cover quickly with tinfoil to trap steam in.  Allow to finish cooking in the steam for about 20 minutes.  They should be al dente, meaning still firm, but soft and cooked - through all the way. 

Note: If I haven't convinced you yet,  this is a perfect way to prepare broccoli and/or cauliflower as well.  Prepare everything the same way, just replacing the B. Sprouts out and adding above mentioned substitute veggies.  (Or better yet, add all 3 and serve as a lovely melange).

***Hello Thanksgiving!  Perfect side to bring to your Thanksgiving pot luck!  I always make this and it never fails.

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