with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
This recipe is a featured recipe from the book P. Allen Smith's Seasonal Recipes from the Garden.
Brussels sprouts are said to have been cultivated as far back as the thirteenth century in the vicinity of Brussels, Belgium, and have carried that name ever since. I've always been taken with how the vegetable looks like Thumbelina-size cabbages. The plant has a tall stem on which many tiny heads, or sprouts, form.Its cousins, green and red cabbages, make one large head at the top of a short stem, but if you cut the head of a common cabbage from the plant, numerous tiny heads will grow from the remaining stem, in much the same manner as Brussels sprouts.
Some people find the assertive flavor of this vegetable unpleasant, but I've discovered that more often than not, the naysayers have had the unfortunate experience of eating Brussels sprouts when they were overcooked, which is the cause of that bitter taste. Prepared properly, they are wonderfully sweet and nutty, and they take well to being steamed, roasted, or sautéed.
If you are among those who are on the fence about the flavor of Brussels sprouts, this recipe might just give you that needed nudge.
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon coarse-grained mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ cup olive oil
- Cracked black pepper to taste
- Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water, and set it aside.
- Trim the bottoms of the Brussels sprouts, discarding the outer leaves.
- Cut a ¼-inch-deep X in the stem end of each sprout (to ensure even cooking).
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Be careful not to overcook them!
- Plunge the sprouts into the ice water to stop the cooking, and then drain them in a colander.
- Whisk the vinegars, maple syrup, mustard, salt, nutmeg, olive oil, and pepper in a medium bowl until thick and smooth. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss to coat. Transfer the sprouts to a serving bowl, and serve at room temperature.
- The Brussels sprouts can be cooked and the vinaigrette prepared in advance. Just reheat the sprouts in boiling water or in the microwave, and then toss them with the vinaigrette.