I love the fall and winter for the abundance of produce available. There are so many combinations of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and grains that the weather turns warm again before I run out of ideas!
In the last few years I've re-discovered Brussels sprouts. When I was growing up, my mom loved Brussels sprouts but boiled them to death, so I only knew them as army-green balls of nastiness. Because of that, I avoided them for a long time, until I had them browned instead of boiled. Caramelizing the Brussels sprouts brings out the natural sweetness and cooking for a shorter period of time reduces the amount of sulfur compounds released and increases the amount of vitamins retained during cooking. Since Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family, they benefit from similar treatments – broccoli and cauliflower are delicious when roasted, and cabbage itself is best when cooked over a short time.
An easy way to try out Brussels sprouts on those who are uncertain about them is to shred them. I clean and trim the sprouts and run them through the slicing blade on the food processor. In one of my favorite recipes, I like to pair what I think of as "typical" fall flavors with Brussels sprouts, so I add mustard, pecans, and a touch of maple syrup. The mustard also compliments the sprouts as they are in the same biological genus (Brassica).
Brussels Sprouts with Maple, Mustard, and Pecans
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 1 cup pecan halves, toasted
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Salt and pepper to taste
Shred sprouts using the slicing blade of a food processor. This can also be done by hand using a very sharp knife. Heat a large skillet over medium-high and add pecans. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove pecans to a dish, then heat olive oil in the skillet. Add the shallot and cook for 1 minute. Add sprouts and thyme, and cover for 1 minute. Remove cover, turn heat to high, and cool for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in remaining ingredients and reserved pecans, and heat through, adding salt and pepper to taste.