Lemon Brussels Sprouts
October 24, 2006
The image of children squealing at the sight of brussels sprouts is perhaps not that far-off from reality. I don't make these mini delights very often but I vowed to cook them and not suffer through eating them. I altered a recipe I saw browsing through one of Lidia Bastianich's cookbooks and recreate it here for you. Lidia's recipe attempts to remove that bitter flavor so common when biting into these tiny cabbages. Harold McGee's "On Food and Cooking" tells us not only the correct spelling of "brussels sprouts" but also that they come from a cabbage variant that develops small and numerous heads along a greatly elongated central stalk. If you buy brussels sprouts, I suggest trying to find them at a natural food store or farmers market still on the stalk, it is the coolest thing you'll ever see of a common vegetable. McGee states that the bitter taste of sprouts comes from glucosinolates that simply release bitter whether cooked slowly for fast, but are especially concentrated in the center of the sprout. It is this useful bit of information that really confirmed Lidia's cooking method that requires removal of the bitter centers. The most intensive part about making this dish is coring out the centers and defoliating the sprouts so that all that remains is a beautiful arrangement of leaves in the pan.
You will need:
- 1 pound of brussels sprouts
- 3 slices of pancetta or bacon, chopped into bits
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/4 white onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- olive oil
- 1/2 c white wine
- salt & pepper
- Italian parsley, chopped
Step One: To prepare the sprouts, take the sprout in your hand, and with a small knife remove the core of the sprout. Pull the leaves apart and repeat until all sprouts have their core removed and leaves pulled. Rinse leaves and set aside.
Step Two: In a saute pan, cook pancetta or bacon until it begins to shrink (over medium-high heat). Add garlic and onion, and 3 plugs of olive oil, cooking until onions begin to turn translucent.
Step Three: Add sprouts, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and white wine. Raise heat and stir, cooking until leaves soften. Stir in a handful of Italian parsley at last before serving.
I suggest serving these sprouts with roasted red potatoes.