Boiled I Mean Broiled Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Mustard Seeds

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Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Mustard Seeds

Brussels sprouts are complicated. They’re both hip and hated. They can be sublime or inedible. You’ll find their sweet nature on the menu of the latest gastropub, or piled high in a stinky mess at the worst of the mass market buffets. This unfortunate dichotomy has left them with a bit of an identity crisis. This is not their fault. But it can leave the home cook scratching his or her head wondering what the secret is to Brussels sprouts. Well, have you tried Broiled Brussels Sprouts? Not roasted but broiled. Broiled Brussels Sprouts are simple. All it takes is a watchful eye. So don’t be afraid and give it a try.

Because it’s true many people are afraid of Brussels sprouts, horrified even. Because they are often prepared in a horrifying manner– over-boiled. Boiling for long lengths of time really does not suit Brussels sprouts. That is because they’re technically a cruciferous vegetable. Which is a fancy way of saying cabbage. As we all know, boiled cabbage can be stinky and mushy. So too, Brussels sprouts. In fact, in French, they are called les choux de Bruxelles, which means cabbages of Brussels. So all the mistakes people make cooking cabbage can be amplified in these little cabbages.

Cruciferous vegetables get their name because their flowers have 4 petals and look like a cross (crucifix). Other cruciferous vegetables include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, collards, kale, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnip greens, and watercress. Now doesn’t this list look a lot like the list your doctor uses when he/she says you should eat more dark, leafy greens?

Well, listen to your doctor because cruciferous veggies all contain phytochemicals — vitamins and minerals, and lots of healthy fiber which some studies suggest lower your risk of cancer.

Unfortunately, these phytochemicals break down somewhat in cooking. This lessens their health benefits, and can also release a vile sulphery smell. Many people can’t get past the smell. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Broiled Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Mustard Seeds

Pickled Mustard SeedsBroiled Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Mustard Seeds

There are lots of great ways to cook Brussels sprouts. Broiled Brussels sprouts is one of the simplest and also one of the tastiest. I like to toss them with a little olive oil, coarse salt and cracked black pepper. I then stick them right under the broiler. Don’t be afraid to get them as close to the heat as you can. Then all you have to do is watch them carefully until they get browned and crackly on the outside with varying textures on the inside. They’re great served like this straight from the oven, but this time I tried something new from Naomi Pomeroy. I tossed these crispy broiled Brussels sprouts in a sweet and sour pickled whole mustard seed syrup to add even more caramelized complexity.

I hate to be one of those bloggers who throws around superlatives, but dadgummit, these were the best Brussels sprouts I’ve ever made. GREGBroiled Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Mustard Seeds

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Mustard Seeds

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 6-8Source Naomi PomeroyPublished
Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Pickled Mustard Seeds

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pound Brussels sprouts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon pickled mustard seeds (see recipe)

Directions

Place an empty baking sheet on an oven rack as close to the heat source as possible and preheat the broiler.

Cut the base off of each Brussels sprout, and then cut each sprout in half lengthwise, discarding any floppy outer leaves.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the sprouts with the oil. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper and toss well to combine.

Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the broiler (use a double layer of kitchen towels or oven mitts) and lay the sprouts in a single layer across the pan. Return the pan to the oven and set a timer for 4-6 minutes. After 4-6 minutes (depending on broiler strength), stir the sprouts and rotate the pan 180 degrees to ensure the sprouts caramelize evenly. Set the timer
for another 4-6 minutes. The sprouts should have a nice char on some areas and be vibrant green.

At this point, add the mustard seeds to the baking sheet and stir well. Broil for an additional 2 minutes. The sprouts should now be ready. When you taste one, it should be tender but not completely soft. I like to test one big sprout and one little sprout to get an average. (The sugars in the pickled mustard seeds will have caramelized a bit and can burn your mouth if you’re not careful.) Remove the finished sprouts from the hot baking sheet and serve immediately.

Pickled Mustard Seeds

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 1 cupSource Naomi PomeroyPublished
Pickled Mustard Seeds

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup whole mustard seeds
  • 1 clove peeled garlic

Directions

In a small saucepan over high heat, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 35 minutes, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of syrup (but is not as thick as honey). Let cool, transfer to a nonreactive airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

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