12.14.2009

Hulk Knuckles.

Brussels Sprouts

For most of my life, I have pigeon-holed brussels sprouts into the blech category of the food groups. A few years ago, I decided to give them another chance, but not because I was feeling brave or because my taste buds had "matured." No. In truth, I thought they were cute. Baby cabbages, how adorable!

I have to admit, I have a serious obsession with all things miniature. Tiny-mania ruthlessly descended on me in college, right about the time I discovered anxiety and mood swings and the terrible reality that I could no longer eat whatever I wanted, not exercise and never gain a pound. I was like, WTF, 24? I just got over the teen business of shiny t-zones, misguided fashion choices and the awkward (seemingly clever, at the time) save of tying a sweatshirt around my waist, AND NOW you pull this shit?! I learned to silence my hormonal temper tantrums with a busy schedule, gym membership, and a stabilizing dose of estrogen-heavy contraceptives (like a lobotomy for your uterus, sex drive too). I had a theory that my sudden draw toward baby versions of things was my oppressed uterus' way of sending smoke signals. "Psst!" she hissed. "I'm still here, fertile as ever ... Aren't those brussels sprouts darling? Baby cabbages, how adorable!"

Kurt also likes Brussels sprouts, but I doubt it stems from any innate paternal fanaticism. In fact, when he eats a brussles sprout, I don't think the cute factor even crosses his mind. You know what he calls them? Hulk knuckles.

Anyway.

Brussels sprouts and I, together again! They're no longer the farty, slimy sprouts that haunted my childhood. I like mine cut in half, pan fried, with crispy outer leaves and a flavorful caramelized core. Here is our fool-proof recipe for enjoying brussels sprouts. To those who dislike them, I think you should reconsider. Just look at them. How could you say no to those sweet little babies?

hulk knuckles
The Incredible Hulk Knuckles
Hulk Knuckles

Ingredients:
1 bunch of fresh brussels sprouts (Fresh or bust. We tried frozen once and it was very disappointing.)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp cooking oil for frying
3 slices of bacon, chopped in small pieces (optional)
handful of crushed walnuts
juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

The key to this recipe is all in how you prep the brussels sprouts. We like to rough up the outer leaves and cut the sprouts in half, then stir-fry the whole mess so the texture is really crispy and delicious. Slice of the hard stem end off each sprout and then cut each sprout in half. Then pull off the soft layer of green outer leaves. Set aside the leaves and halves for cooking and throw away the stems.

Heat oil in a large skillet to medium-high. When the pan is hot, add bacon and cook for a few minutes until the bacon turns pink, but not yet crispy. Add garlic, leaves and halved brussels sprouts. Leave them in the pan to cook for about 4-5 minutes. Don't stir them, just let them relax and get brown and caramelized. Add walnuts. Cook another 5 minutes, this time stirring frequently. They are ready when the leaves are bright green with brown crispy edges, and the cores are browned and crisp, able to be easily pierced with a fork. Remove from heat. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper.

4 comments:

  1. hmmm, those look surprisingly good. i've only had good brussel sprouts once. when i was like 12, my best friend's mom was a gourtmet cook and did something amazing to brussel sprouts. she thought i was the best kid ever because i ate them with a fury. maybe this was her recipe!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Man, I too love baby anything. I never cared much for the sprouts, having only tasted carelessly prepared specimens. I had some recently, though ... just something out of the freezer section ... came in a bag. I really liked them. The texture! Like those Russian nesting dolls, they are. Layer upon layer upon layer. Now that I am old I am getting more into textures--congees, cranberry relish, turkish delight. When I have no taste buds and no teeth (please no) then texture will be my joy.

    Hulk knuckles. I knew when I read it who came up with *that* name. I saw a Hulk hand towel Monday at Unique and thought of him for some reason.

    I will try this recipe when the mother in law is here Xmas week. She has old school buds (that still work quite well, thank you). I'll report back. Love your blog and NEED to read it more!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yay! I hope you guys like them. They are Kurt's favorite.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Man, I too love baby anything. I never cared much for the sprouts, having only tasted carelessly prepared specimens. I had some recently, though ... just something out of the freezer section ... came in a bag. I really liked them. The texture! Like those Russian nesting dolls, they are. Layer upon layer upon layer. Now that I am old I am getting more into textures--congees, cranberry relish, turkish delight. When I have no taste buds and no teeth (please no) then texture will be my joy.

    Hulk knuckles. I knew when I read it who came up with *that* name. I saw a Hulk hand towel Monday at Unique and thought of him for some reason.

    I will try this recipe when the mother in law is here Xmas week. She has old school buds (that still work quite well, thank you). I'll report back. Love your blog and NEED to read it more!

    ReplyDelete

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