Hi there boys and girls.
That’s right, it’s Mr. Cook Local back to start the Valentine’s Day fun.
First, I’m sorry we’re so far behind. Between my work and last week’s three day flu, I’ve been trying to catch up on life.
So, I’m going to start with the last dish you’re going to be making, a sesame Brussels sprout sauté.
This particular dish is going to take you 30 minutes tops, including prep time. It is a dynamic dish to cook, perfect for standing in the kitchen, while the short ribs stay warm in the oven at a low temperature, drinking a glass of wine and chatting with your lovely date/wife/whatever.
The sprouts do take a bit of prep work, all of which could be done in the morning.
Rather than bury this prep description in the recipe, lets talk a little bit about the little green balls of death here.
There’s two things that are important to most every preparation of Brussels sprouts:
- Chop off the stem. These little balls grow on a stalk about 2 inches in diameter, and are very impressive if you find them still attached. Very club like, may appeal to your more base nature of beating things over their heads. That stem end is what attached the ball to the stalk. You don’t need to chop off that much, not even a quarter of an inch. You’re not looking at cutting the ball in half.
- Peel off the outer leaves, if they are mottled or discolored, like in this picture. The unhealthy leaves should just peel right off. If they don’t, then the leaf is probably fine and should stay attached.
Let us talk a little bit about the meal and, specifically, this dish’s place in it. The taste is light, with a hint of heavy by nature of the oil. The taste shouldn’t overwhelm anything else that you’re going to have on your plate, and it should add a bit of healthy flavor to the meal, and a hint of spring. The roast beets, the braised ribs, will be very wintry, the cornbread is almost season-free and dessert… well, dessert is dessert.
So, what do we need for this dish, besides the ingredients?
- Large skillet (or a frying pan). We’re talking a 12-14″ pan
- A sharp knife. For this dish, anything really works. Paring knife, steak knife, chef’s knife. Just so long as it is sharp.
- A tablespoon.
- A 1/4 cup. This isn’t really necessary. Your palm will likely work just fine.
- A small non-stick frying pan.
- A prep bowl large enough to hold the sprouts.
- A wooden spoon/silicon spatula.
So, enough foreplay. Lets talk about the recipe. I wish I could say we adapted this recipe, but, honestly, I can’t. Pretty much step by step straight from the book. If you’re feeling a little advanced, down at the bottom, I’ll give some ideas as to how you could spice up the dish just a bit, in addition to some other suggestions at how to get the dish ready.
Sesame Brussels Sprout Sauté
(from Clean Food)
- 20 Brussels sprouts (if large, and this will give you seconds)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup, sesame seeds
- Prepare Brussels sprouts as mentioned above, cutting off the stem end and removing the discolored leads.
- Slice the sprouts thinly from tip to stem and drop into your prep bowl. You’ll find it easiest to slice and drop into the bowl as you go.
- Put the large skillet onto the stove top on medium heat and add the olive oil.
- After a minute, add the garlic and stir it around, giving it a quick sauté. You’ll do this for about 5 minutes, keeping the garlic moving.
- Add the Brussels sprouts and mirin and cook it for 15-20 minutes. You don’t need to continually stir this, but every 3-5 minutes give the sprouts a good stir. You’re looking for a good golden brown hint to the sprouts which requires them to spend sometime without moving in the pan.
- If the sprouts start to stick to the pan, add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan.
- Once the sprouts are browning up, remove the pan from the heat and throw the small frying pan onto the heat.
- Mix in the toasted sesame oil and give the the sprouts a toss so that the oil is distributed.
- Put a small palm full of the sesame seeds into the small dry frying pan. Don’t let them sit still for more than ten seconds. Keep shaking the pan. It won’t take long, you just want a light toasting. No more than two minutes, but keep an open nose for any hint of smoke.
- Serve a generous spoonful of Brussels sprouts sprinkled with the toasted sesame seeds.
Notes: Mirin can be found in the Asian food section of your grocery store.
You can easily cut up the sprouts and garlic in the morning, cover tightly with saran wrap and pull them out when you’re ready to cook.
If you want to spice up the recipe a little, you could mince some bacon, pancetta, or guanciale in with the garlic. You’d want a very fine dice here, but this would give a richer depth of flavor to this dish. Honestly though, it doesn’t need it.
A note from the Mrs.: The recipes this week are designed to impress that special someone. I was pretty skeptical of this dish. Sure, it’s healthy. Sure, that’s impressive in its own right. But would it actually be good? I mean, come on! It’s Brussels sprouts, a little mirin, and garlic! Surely this is going to be bland and basically flavorless, right? WRONG! When John brought me the plate of sprouts, I figured I’d have a taste and let him have the rest. A couple of minutes later, I had to call him to take the plate away before I finished every last bite. The sprouts caramelize beautifully, playing up a sweetness in the sprouts I’ve never tasted before. When you figure in how easy this dish is (slice, cook with minimal interaction, serve), I think this is going to be our go-to recipe for Brussels sprouts now.
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