Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Recipe: Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic

In this snap of bitter cold, I’m seeking any excuse to crank up the oven and make up warm, nourishing meals that also happen to heat up the house.
Brussels sprouts on the stalk. Photo in the public domain.
Brussels sprouts are a divisive choice for some, but not in our household, where those sweet little knobs are favored by everyone—including my cat, who clearly loves all things green and leafy.

He even likes them on the stalk.
Roasting tenderizes Brussels to their core without making them mushy, pushing their flavor right to the surface. I’m also a sucker for the crispy outer leaves that roasting produces. I pluck them right from the roasting pan, a crackly snack to savor before digging into the real meal.

While this recipe doesn’t include honey as in ingredient, we do owe its existence to bees. Without them, Laurey Masteron writes in the preface to The Fresh Honey Cookbookwe’d live in a Brussels-less world:
“A few years ago, I was invited to cater a party for The Honeybee Project, an Asheville-based group that teaches children about the importance of honeybees to our food supply. After talking with the party’s post, I decided to make only foods that would exist without honeybees. As I explored and researched the menu, I was amazed to learn that without honeybees we would not have nuts, avocados, strawberries, melons, apples, and many, many other foods.”
I love this recipe for the addition of ample amounts of garlic. So go ahead, give the bees a boost and warm up those ovens. It’s cold outside! (For more on the cold, check out NPR’s recent explanation of the polar vortex which, as I type this, is a trending topic on Twitter).

Oven-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic

Even though my mother was a wonderful cook, she did not usually stray from her well-beaten path. Vegetables in our house were steamed. And in fact, most vegetables started in the frozen state. Steaming frozen vegetables is okay if that’s all you have on hand, but things have changed dramatically since my mother’s time, with fresh, local food much more available. Oven roasting is such a fine way to bring out the flavors of vegetables that I rarely steam anything anymore. There is no honey in this recipe, but without bees, we wouldn’t have Brussels sprouts (or garlic).

If you are lucky enough to live in a place with local farmers’ markets, you’ll be thrilled to buy a stalk of Brussels sprouts, snip them off the stalk, and roast them right away. Second best is to buy a bag full of bright green sprouts in the produce section of your grocery store. Roasting them will bring out their sweetness.

The ingredients:

1 stalk Brussels sprouts (about 1 pound)
4 garlic cloves, chopped into large pieces
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut the Brussels sprouts off the stalk, trimming off any bruised outer leaves. Cut each sprout in half lengthwise. Spread the cut sprouts on a sturdy baking sheet.
  3. Spread the chopped garlic over the sprouts. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, keeping watch toward the end of the baking time, until slightly browned and tender when poked with a fork. Taste and add another bit of salt if desired.
  5. Serve immediately.

Emily’s serving suggestion: These would make a fantastic side dish to another one of Laurey’s recipes, Pork Tenderloin with Orange Blossom Honey Mustard.

Recipe excerpted from The Fresh Honey Cookbook © 2013 by Laurey Masterton. All Rights Reserved.
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The Fresh Honey Cookbook was one of the Washington Post’s recommended cookbooks of 2013. For a downloadable sample of pages and recipes (including this one) from The Fresh Honey Cookbook, visit our Fresh Picks page this month!

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