O.K., so I know that this recipe is probably not the one that people are going to be flocking from all corners of the Internet to read. I considered putting "chocolate" in the title, but that ended up making it entirely too long. Brussels sprouts are one of those foods, like leeks or eggplant, that many people just assume that they don't like because of the funny name or appearance, or both. Sounds like a bit of vegetable discrimination to me! This year, I am giving you the assignment to convert at least one of your guests into a brussels sprouts believer. Fortunately, I am providing you with the perfect dish with which to accomplish this task.
This recipe is really more of a brussels sprouts "hash" due to the fact that they are thinly sliced prior to cooking. The toasty pine nuts, the caramelized shallots, and the sweet and sour combination of the sugar and vinegar make this a very complex tasting side dish, even though it doesn't take much time at all to prepare! Here are my tips:
- Keep an eye on the pine nuts while they are toasting. They burn very quickly. I have had to throw out many batches over the years when I have tried to do too many things at once!
- If you don't have pine nuts, substitute walnuts or pecans.
- This is one dish that should be cooked just prior to eating for presentation purposes. If the brussels sprouts sit too long, then they tend to wilt. You can chop the shallots and brussels sprouts ahead of time or better yet, you can assign this job to one of your "sous-chefs!"
- If you want to customize this recipe a bit, a few suggestions would be to saute some chopped bacon prior to the brussels sprouts to infuse them with the bacon flavor, or to add some thinly sliced fennel to the shallots and caramelize both. Fennel has almost a licorice flavor when raw, but roasted or sauteed it takes on a sweeter, but still very distinct, flavor.
- You can get away with cutting back on the butter in this recipe. The end result is very rich!
Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pine Nuts and Caramelized Shallots
1/4 cup pine nuts
6 tablespoons butter, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup water
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Toast the pine nuts in a shallow pan until they are a deep golden color, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar. Stir until the shallots are brown and glazed, about 3 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a plate and wipe out the skillet.
Halve the brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut them lengthwise into thin (1/8 inch) slices. Heat the oil in the large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sprouts and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Saute until they are brown at the edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup of water and 3 tablespoons butter. Saute until most of the water evaporates and the sprouts are tender but still bright green, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved shallots and pine nuts and season with salt and pepper.