Saturday, December 10, 2011

Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower Two Ways

Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts are the only things left at the market that aren't a root vegetable or a squash like thing. Oh OK well maybe you might be lucky and see some Broccoli but for the most part these two stalwarts are still around and make a delicious paring.  Easy to prepare I have been making them a lot lately and have two favorite recipes for making these two Autumn favorites sing with flavor.  Even for those people who don't really like Brussel Sprouts I think these two versions might actually change your mind about how delicious they can be.  I've chosen to mix them together, but by all means if you want to make either of these recipes with just Cauliflower or just Brussel Sprouts they work just as well.

Version 1

Preheat the oven to 425 F

Both of these recipes call for a combined weight of 3 pounds of vegetables which have been cleaned trimmed and chopped into bite size pieces.  If the Brussel Sprouts are really big quarter them, if they are really small leave them whole and if they are somewhere in the middle halve them.

Spread out 1 cup of walnuts on a baking sheet and bake till brown (about 10 minutes) remove from the oven and let cool. When cook enough to handle roughly chop. Reserve.

Toss the prepared sprouts and Cauliflower with about 1/3 cup of olive oil  using more or less, just make sure they are well coated.  To roast them I used two baking sheets so as not to overcrowd them. Bake for about 35-45 minutes, at the half way point give them a stir and turn the pans around.

While they are coking in a medium size bowl add: 1 heaping tablespoon of Grain Mustard2 tablespoons of local Honey1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar and whisk until emulsified.

Stir in: 1, 2 ounce tin of Anchovies finely chopped, 3 tablespoons of Capers rinsed and roughly chopped, 2 large Garlic cloves finely chopped, 2 Shallots finely chopped, and 2 Tablespoons of roughly torn fresh Mint - taste and season with salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste.  

Add half the dressing to the cooked vegetables and toss in the walnuts.  The dressing is pretty strong, I love it but taste it and you go so that at any point you think it is enough you can stop and reserve the left over for a later date.  

Garnish with mint leaves and serve.

(This was adapted from a recipe on Food & Wine's website)
Version 2

Same oven temperature, same prep and amount of vegetables as above, just a different dressing.

In a medium bowl add: 1/4 cup Fish Sauce, 1/4 cup water, 2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar, juice of  1 Lime, 1/4 cup palm sugar, 1 clove Garlic finely chopped, 1-3 Thai red birds eye chili pepper thinly sliced seed included (I start with 1 chili and if I want more heat add more depends on the crowd, I love heat some people don't). Lets sit for about 5 minutes to let the palm sugar time to melt then whisk together.

Add: 3 Tablespoons roughly chopped mint, 2 Tablespoons of very thinly sliced Cilantro stems, 1/2 cup Cilantro leaves and mix.

The original recipe calls for puffed rice to be added as the very end, I found this to be an impossible item to find in Chinatown so I bought puffed rice crackers, broke them up with my hands until they were no longer in clumps and browned them in a hot skillet for about 1 minute.  Keep a keen eye on these as they will burn in a second if you aren't watching (I burnt mine twice!). You want 1 cup of browned puffed rice.

When the vegetables are cooked, place in a large bowl and toss in the dressing.

Taste and season with salt and freshly grated black pepper, adding more hot peppers if you want.  Toss in the puffed rice and serve.  You may want to add more lime juice for an extra zing, I made this several times and more often than not I used the juice of 2 Limes as I really liked how the fresh citrus flavor livens everything up.

If you are vegan you could replace the fish sauce with Usukuchi (light soy sauce).  I've never done this replacement so if you do try it please let me know how it works out!

(This recipe was adapted from a recipe in David Chang and Peter Meehan's Momofuku cookbook

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