Saturday, January 16, 2010

Brussels Sprouts, Two Ways

By Diana Hsieh

Kelly Valenzuela posted the following recipe for "Browned Brussels Sprouts" on OEvolve a few days ago:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts (trimmed and halved) 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook 15 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, cook one minute.
I've not tried that yet, but it sounds yummy. (I would probably substitute coconut oil for the olive oil, as I prefer not to cook with olive oil. Also, I don't use nonstick, so I'd just be sure to use lots of that fat.)

My standard method of cooking brussels sprouts, which I used just last night, is based on Cook's Illustrated's Brussels Sprouts Braised in Cream.
I wash and trim the brussels sprouts, but leave them whole. Then I simmer them in about a cup of cream on the stove for about 20 minutes, until tender by a toothpick test. I stir them periodically, and I'll often take off the lid for the last few minutes to get a thicker cream sauce. (Sometimes I boil the sauce down so much that the brussels spouts caramelize a bit. Yummy!) You do need to watch the pot carefully, particularly as the cream comes to a simmer, because it can easily boil over and make a terrible mess. Oh, and I often forget that I should add a dash of nutmeg at the end, in addition to the salt and pepper.
Amazingly, I used to hate brussels sprouts, but now they're one of my favorite vegetables!

Update: The reason that I don't use olive oil for cooking is that I've read that it oxides at fairly low temperatures, based on its smoke point. (Apparently, its smoke point is a matter of some dispute.) So I tend to use rendered lard (in the form of bacon grease), butter, or oil for cooking. However, my knowledge of such matters is very sketchy, so feel free to chime in in the comments with any good sources.

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