Food & Wine (November 2011)
In this life, some people leave behind great inventions.
Others leave great works of art.
Us? Well, we'll be leaving a bunch of Brussels sprouts recipes -- along with more than a few Brussels converts.
Based on what we've heard from you all over the nearly four years (!) we've been writing The Bitten Word, we've turned more people on to Brussels sprouts than any other single food. We've heard from scores of former sprouts haters who now say they're big Brussels fans.
As for us, we've pretty much never met a Brussels sprout recipe we didn't like. Which is why we were eager to try these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Capers, Walnuts and Anchovies.
Anchovies? In Brussels sprouts? Um, okay!
We're new to the anchovy party. Growing up, we were both a little turned off by their intense briny saltiness and, well, the fact that you're eating fish out of a can. But the truth is that anchovies are an amazing culinary shortcut. They instantly add deep, savory notes to a dish. It's not a fishy taste; the anchovies just give a dish a great foundation of umami.
Which is why these Brussels sprouts are a good dish for Thanksgiving: They don't require much cooking at all, but the end result is deep with flavor. You can essentially do all your cooking a few hours ahead of time. Just before serving, you rewarm the sprouts and toss them with the remaining ingredients (you can even toast the walnuts up to a few days in advance).
It's a mustardy, savory spin on Brussels that was new to us. We really enjoyed it!
We'll admit that a dish with so many intense flavors -- anchovies, capers, vinegar, mustard -- might be a little unexpected on the Thanksgiving table. They're not necessarily tastes that blend so easily with gravy, sweet potatoes, stuffing and so on.
But our guests nearly unanimously loved them -- even the ones who thought they didn't like Brussels sprouts.
And our Brussels work continues...
3 pounds brussels sprouts, quartered
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
One 2-ounce tin of anchovies, drained and minced
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the brussels sprouts with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the brussels sprouts on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and roast for about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and charred in spots; shift the pans halfway through roasting.
Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 8 minutes, until golden. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
In the large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard and honey. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup of oil until emulsified. Add the capers, garlic, shallots and anchovies; season with salt and pepper. Add the brussels sprouts and walnuts and toss well.
The brussels sprouts and dressing can be made up to 4 hours ahead and kept at room temperature. Rewarm the brussels sprouts before serving