Friday, January 21, 2011

RECIPE: Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Carrots

Many can't get over the bitter flavor of brussel sprouts, which is definitely something I encountered as a child. Out of curiosity, my mom made brussel sprouts only once. She just dropped them whole in a clear broth soup she was making and let them boil away. That was an epic fail because after a prolonged cooking time, the bitter flavor only enhanced. I've since explored this territory on my own and I must say- if you're not a fan of brussel sprouts, I will convert you. My success rate is pretty damn high, something like 100%, and that's more than a few people.

At any rate, many of my friends have had my garlic pan roasted brussel sprouts and I've continued to find ways to improve the recipe further. The addition of carrots offers some sweet contrast and the use of dry sherry and a little soy to deglaze the pan at the end is like the MSG you don't feel bad about. Or at least I don't.

  • 1/2 lb brussel sprouts, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 lb carrots, cut in 1 in. pieces, split lengthwise
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dry sherry
  • 1 tsp tamari soy
  • salt and pepper

It is critical to use high heat for this recipe. Ventilation fans: GO!

Prepare a medium size pan on high heat with a tablespoon of neutral oil, like canola. When the surface of the oil starts to ripple, add the brussel sprouts, carrots and garlic. Stir to coat everything evenly in the oil, then bring the heat down to medium-high. Keep stirring every minute or two to prevent things from burning, which they will if pieces aren't turned (I prefer this process to roasting in the oven only because I can be this particular).

Once an aesthetically pleasing browning has occurred over most of the brussel sprouts and carrots, turn the heat down to medium. Add a little pepper and then salt liberally, but not too much your first time, obviously. Test one to see if it's still crunchy and a little tender. You don't want to cross the threshold where it's too tender, though. A little crunch is good.

At this point, combine the dry sherry and soy in a small bowl. Bring the heat on the pan back to high. Once you're convinced the pan is fucking hot again, drizzle the mixture over the pan WHILE stirring the vegetables. This will at once deglaze, caramelize and evaporate all at once. Immediately turn the heat off and transfer everything to a serving plate. Et voila!

Wow, that was a lot more difficult to explain than I thought it would be.

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