"EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!!" For a lot of us, that scarring refrain from childhood always evokes memories of lifeless, stringy asparagus, sadly limp, marginally-green green beans, or worse...Brussels sprouts! Any mention of them as a veggie side was greeted with that face. But with age comes growth, and in the last few years I've managed to put my Brussels baggage back in the cooking closet where it belongs. These midget cabbages that have been kicked around the vegetable patch like no others have now found a regular place on the dinner plates at our house. Steamed, blanched, grilled, sautéed with pancetta...they take well to so many different approaches that they're impossible not to like for the creative cook. And the following recipe has become our latest favorite, something w can whip up in no time. From Aliza Green's great cooking tome Starting With Ingredients, this recipe perfectly showcases the fresh, slightly earthy crunch of the sprout highlighted by a light drizzle of balsamic. If your old sprout scars open up at the mere thought of eating one, try this Brussels bandage!
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Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Syrup
From Aliza Green's "Starting With Ingredients"
1 pint Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup balsamic syrup (recipe below)
Trim off bottom of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half lengthwise. Preheat a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) and add the olive oil. Place the Brussels sprouts halves cut-side down in the skillet and brown for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn sprouts over individually and continue to cooking for about 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, arrange on serving plates and drizzle 1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic syrup over each plate. Serve immediately.
*Cooks Note: We've also had these without the syrup and loved the simple preparation.
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1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
Combine all ingredients in a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until bubbling and thickened to a light syrup, about 10 minutes. Store at room temperature.