Wednesday, August 14, 2013
A heap of Fart Balls, all ready for the oven.
If you want your kid to shout,
Prepare for him a Brussels Sprout
And place it on a nice big plate.
Now sit back and enjoy the hate.
Brussels sprouts (or, as they are called in Brussels, “sprouts”) are, indeed, rarely to be found on your average Snot-Nose’s list of favorite vegetables. That might be owing to the fact that many people have no idea how to prepare those little cabbagettes... or it may simply be a case of kids being clueless about Tasty Noms. And that’s fine, because, well, more for me.
You could simply boil those bad boys until they turn into grey-green sludge, but that would be wrong. I’ve sliced - really, shredded - them on a mandoline and used them raw in a salad, where they contribute an unusual peppery flavor. Those shreds also can be sautéed in a little olive oil or butter... yummy. I’ve pickled them and I’ve deep-fried them Michael Symon-style. But my favorite preparation involves oven-roasting them.
Roasted Brussels sprouts go exceptionally well with various combinations of bacon, balsamic vinegar glazes, garlic, and/or capers. A couple of days ago, I got the bright idea to roast them with some capers and then to add some dried currants that I had plumped up in hot balsamic. That attempt earned the official She Who Must Be Obeyed Seal of Approval, an accolade that - at least in the case of the humble Sprout - is not given lightly.
Here’s how you do it:
Brussels Sprouts, Elisson Style
Get yourself a pile of Brussels sprouts. Pick fresh sprouts with tight, firm heads. Wash and trim the sprouts, removing any loose or discolored outer leaves; if the sprouts are larger than, say, a nickel, split them in half. Place them in a bowl while they’re still wet and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil, a good sprinkle of kosher salt, and a teaspoon or two of drained capers. If you prefer, add a few minced garlic cloves. Spread out on a foil-lined baking sheet; if you’ve split the sprouts, arrange them cut side down. Cover the sheet with aluminum foil and roast in a 425°F oven for ten minutes.
While the sprouts are roasting, take a tablespoon or two of dried currants and soak them in enough hot balsamic vinegar to cover. (I combine the currants and the balsamic in a heatproof cup and nuke it for 30-40 seconds.) Strain off the vinegar after the currants have had time to get nice and plump.
Remove the foil covering the sprouts and continue to roast for another ten minutes. When done, remove them from the oven and toss with the drained balsamicated currants. Add salt and pepper to taste; serve hot.
These little guys are ready to serve!
If you’ve used the garlic when making this recipe, it will not take you long to discover why some people refer to them as “fart balls”: They are capable of producing an astonishing amount of sulfurous flatulence. (Surprisingly, omitting the garlic pretty much eliminates that nasty side effect... at least, that is our experience based on a single data point.) But whether you call them fart balls, sprouts, or Little Green Spheres of Death, they are delicious Grownup Food. Kids, you’re on your own.