Brussels sprouts season coming to end

Published 1:45 am Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Brussels sprouts season is coming to an end, according to my husband, so I thought I could get in this last article before it ended. They do not do well for us in the garden, but we do love seeing them in the stores when in season.

Done well, roasted Brussels sprouts shine with a balance of sweet and savory, but nailing that perfect balance calls for a long stay in a hot oven. Even if you are willing to put in the time you can be disappointed because they can become bitter and dry.

I found a new way to do these sprouts which uses less time and lets them turn out properly charred and delicious. The secret is a cast-iron pan. The pan takes some time to heat up, so you have some time to make a simple sauce to go over the Brussels sprouts. The sprouts are tossed in olive oil and a little honey to boost the flavor and retain their moisture. Also the use of garlic and anchovies added a meaty flavor to the sprouts. Adding some honey at the end of the cooking locks in the moisture and makes the sprouts tenderer.

You must use a cast-iron skillet since a stainless steel skillet does not hold the heat well enough to properly char. You need a 12-inch skillet so they will have plenty of space. Use small to medium sprouts since the big ones take too long to cook. If you do this you will have a wonderful Brussels sprouts recipe that you can use over and over. They are really good!

Charred Brussels sprouts

Serves 4

Start to finish: 25 minutes

1 pound small to medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 teaspoons honey

Kosher salt

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 anchovy filets, minced

Red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons lemon juice

In a large bowl, toss the sprouts with 1 tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons of honey and ½ teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

In a 12 inch cast-iron skillet, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, the garlic, anchovies and ¼ teaspoon of pepper flakes. Set over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to color, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the mixture, including the liquid, into a bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to high heat. Add the sprouts (reserve the bowl) and use tongs to arrange them cut side down in a single layer. Cook, without moving, until deeply browned and blackened in spots, 3 to 7 minutes, depending on your skillet. Use the tongs to flip the sprouts cut side up and cook until charred and just tender, another 3 to 5 minutes.

As they finish, return the sprouts to the bowl and toss with the garlic mixture, the remaining 2 teaspoons of honey and the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper flakes.