Two new cooking projects, or how we happily ate a dinner mainly consisting of Brussels sprouts.
We are about to start a Meat 101 project, a little home cooking school with the guidance of a great cookbook. While I was browsing for a cookbook that would teach us good technique and had recipes that are accessible to meat amateurs, I stumbled onto Susie Middleton's cookbook Fast, Fresh & Green. We've been trying to eat more vegetables, and from what I can tell so far, this cookbook seems to be a reliable sources of shockingly good vegetable recipes. The three dishes I've made from it so far have all exceeded my expectations for being mouth-watering and delicious. So, I found myself a second cooking project. I'll be cooking my way through this whole book, and honestly I've never been so excited about cooking vegetables.
Fast, Fresh & Green is organized around cooking methods, like roasting or braising. Each chapter starts with a master recipe and then follows with several examples of adaptations. Not all of the recipes are what I call fast, but they are straight-forward. Middleton pays attention to vegetables as if they are the main course, and so you could be happy making a meal out of many of the dishes.
Right now I am in love with the chapter on roasting. Check out the Brussels Sprouts recipe below, and look for a caramelized tomato recipe and a sweet potato fry recipe soon!
The recipe claims to serve four as a side dish, but I doubled it with two pounds of Brussels sprouts and we only had one serving left over.
Before you get started, preheat the oven to 475°. Trim off the root end of each Brussels Sprout and cut them in half.
Toss the cut halves with olive oil and salt and lay, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. I used half olive oil and half canola oil - I don't think you need extra virgin olive oil here because at the high temperature used for roasting the extra virgin olive oil will lose that great flavor. I also substituted table salt for kosher, but used only half the amount because the finer grains can taste saltier.
Some of the outside leaves came loose while I was stirring them in the oil - I tossed these into a quick rice pilaf with apricots and walnuts. You could probably roast them too, I was just worried that they would burn.
While the vegetables are roasting for about 16 minutes, the next step is to make a light orange butter sauce. This is optional - the sauce made had a subtle sweetness that we liked and made the recipe worthy of main dish status, but roasted Brussels sprouts would also be great with just some melted butter and salt.
For the sauce, stir together the liquids together in a small saucepan and and heat until hot. Then whisk in the cold, cubed butter until incorporated. Toss the veggies with the sauce and serve.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter Sauce
1 LB / 455 G small Brussels sprouts
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 475° and prepare a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
2. Trim and halve the Brussels sprouts. Toss them with olive oil and salt in a bowl. Place them cut side down on the pan.
3. Roast until the tops are browned and the sprouts are cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes. Return to a mixing bowl.
4. Combine the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, orange juice, and orange zest in a saucepan, heating just till it is hot but not simmering. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the cold butter until completely melted. This sauce doesn't reheat well, so don't make it ahead of time. Toss the Brussels sprouts in the sauce and serve.