Brussels sprouts are having a renaissance, and not just at our house. While they do make guest appearances in our kitchen, brussels sprouts are also on the menus at the hippest restaurants in town. Watch for them, they’re one of the “trendy” veggies on all the 2012 lists. They were not a hated vegetable of my childhood. They were a nonexistent entity in my childhood — my mom didn’t even bother. We were a picky bunch and frozen brussels sprouts would most certainly have been unappreciated. Today, however, I heart brussels sprouts. Roasted brown and sweet, raw and shaved in a salad, fried crisp and more. Brussels sprouts are versatile, yummy and where it’s at. Even the Top Chef judges think so! They awarded the coveted “winning dish” honor to chef Paul Qui for this fried brussels sprouts with grilled prosciutto dish (click here for recipe).
The combination of flavors in this recipe are so over the top that it seemed destined to fail. An apple cider vinegar gastrique lit up the kitchen with its pungent scent as we sautéed garlic, ginger, chives, dried chili flakes with the vinegar and a little sugar. A curry and Greek yogurt mixture just plain seemed out of place.
As we heated the oil to fry the brussels sprouts, I grilled slices of La Quercia prosciutto on the trusty George Foreman grill (aka “The George”) and, very gradually, the savory smell of crisping ham overtook the vinegar smell in the kitchen.
The brussels sprouts procured from the co-op were small, so we cut them in half (instead of quartering them) and popped them into the hot oil. Petals peeled off the sprouts and everything green became toasty and crisp. I had to fry them in two batches and I think the first batch cooled the oil a bit. The first batch crisped up better than the second batch.
But darned if all those flavors didn’t work together! The mild, cabbage-y redolance of the brussels sprouts was crisped and sweetened by frying. The prosciutto was crunchy, briny and rich. The sweet and sour apple cider vinegar cut through the richness and the curry yogurt added a gilded creaminess. We made beef roast to go with our brussels sprouts, but these were clearly the star of the show. Highly recommended as a side dish to whatever you’re serving for whatever occasion. These will make even the most ardent brussels sprout hater into a lover.
Alterations: The recipe called for peaches, but they’re out of season and we couldn’t find them fresh so we skipped them. We used Greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche. We tossed in toasted pine nuts instead of candied pine nuts.
Soundtrack: The Wombats.
Would we make this again: Yes. We’d even make them for the hatiest of brussels sprouts haters then double dog dare them not to like it.