Saturday, December 01, 2007

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Dijon, Walnuts & Crisp Crumbs

Lately I am just addicted to Brussels sprouts. Maybe it’s that I keep seeing ways to cook them that look so tempting, or that they’re very available right now (both in mesh bags, and on the stalk, which looks fun but I’ve never had the courage to buy them). Last night we had them with pork chops and blue cheese mashed potatoes. The recipe was from the current issue of Fine Cooking.

The sprouts get roasted with mustard, and then scattered with buttered toasted crumbs and (according to the recipe) toasted walnuts. Since my husband doesn’t like walnuts, and he was the one making the dinner, I didn’t get to try it with the walnuts.

The article recommends quartering the sprouts to ensure that they cook evenly, and that there’s lots of surface area to come in contact with the pan and get nicely crispy and brown. Then they get tossed with a sauce of mustard, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and caraway seeds. The caraway seeds added an interesting layer of flavor that I’ve not had in Brussels sprouts before.
They get roasted for 20 to 25 minutes, during which time you’re supposed to be making the bread crumb and walnut topping. Since we had no fresh bread out of which to make bread crumbs, we pulled out some crumbs I had made and frozen. They were just fine for the job. The crumbs and the nuts get toasted in a tablespoon of butter until they start to get toasty, then they get set aside on a paper towels to await the roasted Brussels sprouts.

For serving, the Brussels sprouts are scattered with the topping and served immediately, and then, if you’re me, devoured immediately. The only downside I can see to this recipe is that it wouldn’t make good leftovers (not that that’s a problem I have—I can eat a lot of Brussels sprouts in a sitting) because the crumbs would get soggy and probably greasy.

Here’s the full recipe. It worked perfectly, with no modifications at all.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Dijon, Walnuts, and Crisp Crumbs
Serves 6 to 8, unless you’re serving me, in which case it only serves 2

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon caraway seeds, toasted lightly and crushed
¾ teaspoon kosher salt; more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, cut through the core into quarters
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs
½ cup chopped walnuts

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk ¼ cup of the olive oil with the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, caraway seeds, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and about 10 grinds of pepper. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss to thoroughly distribute the mustard mixture. Spread the sprouts in an even layer on the two baking sheets.

Roast until the cores of the sprouts are just barely tender and the leaves are browning and crisping a bit, 20 to 25 minutes (if your oven heat is uneven, rotate the pans midway through cooking).

While the sprouts are roasting, make the topping: Line a plate with two layers of paper towel. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil with the butter in a medium (10”) skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has stopped foaming, add the breadcrumbs all at once; toss to coat with the fat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the walnuts and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring constantly, until the crumbs are browned and slightly crisp, and the nuts are golden, 4 to 6 minutes. (The crumbs will start to sound “scratchy” as they get crisp.) Dump the bread crumb mixture onto the paper towels to drain the excess fat.

Transfer the sprouts to a serving bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. Sprinkle the crumbs over the sprouts just before serving.

Recipe from December Fine Cooking (issue #89)


Anonymous said...

I made this last Thanksgiving, but I was so frazzled (the turkey was ready 2 hours early and other misc disasters...) that I forgot to read the directions until 20 minutes before dinner. So I ended up steaming the sprouts and mixing them in the pan with the dijon mixture and the crumbs. They were a total hit, though I never got to taste them (I'd lost my appetite by the time we got to the dining room). Tonight, thanks to you, I made them according to the recipe and they were great.

TD said...

I'm so glad they turned out for you! I loved them. I just hope you got to try them with the walnut-hating husband nixed me on those, and I think the buttery walnuts would be a really nice foil to the sprouts.