Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Here's a simple recipe from my forthcoming cookbook, The Partiers' Cookbook, aimed at balancing good health with good times. The web site will be up soon.

Many people think Brussels sprouts suck. Not true. You've had them boiled and mushy, or undercooked and difficult to chew. Brussels sprouts can be shredded on a mandolin and stir-fried with pecans and real maple syrup; they can be halved and caramelized in brown butter. In this case, they're getting blanched, halved and then roasted with butter, parmesan and breadcrumbs.

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts (use any quantity and adjust measurements as needed)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 whole stick Unsalted butter
  • 1/2 to 1 whole cup Panko breadcrumbs (Japanese coarse breadcrumbs -- use regular ones in a pinch)
  • Parmesan cheese (fresh-grated Reggiano is preferred and plenty of it, but use what you can)
Trim the sprouts. Remove the very bottom with a knife and peel back loose leaves, discarding anything that's dry looking or yellow. Wash.

Blanch the sprouts. Boil water, drop them in, return to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until approaching fork-tenderness, drain.

Halve the sprouts. Slice down the middle using the stem end as a centerpoint.

Position the sprouts. Place face-up (cut end up) in an oven-proof pan or baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and breadcrumbs.

Melt the butter and pour over the sprouts. Grate the cheese directly over.

Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Test with a fork to check for enough "give" so they're not tough. To achieve a nice browing on top, place under direct broiler for a minute or so, checking frequently.

These can be served aside chicken or as a stand-alone appetizer. Use fresh sprouts if available, and if using frozen, reduce all cooking times in half. But don't use frozen sprouts if you don't have to.

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