Saveur (November 2014)
It's quite possible that our biggest legacy from The Bitten Word will be that we got more people to eat Brussels sprouts. We absolutely love them, and we know (because you've told us) that we've made converts out of more than a few readers.
Well, we're sorry to say we don't think this dish is going to make a convert of anybody.
First things first: This dish is gorgeous. The pomegranate seeds are like beautiful little gems sprinkled onto the plate, and the grated horseradish root is a cool finishing touch.
Second things second: We like the two-step method of boiling the sprouts and then broiling them. We usually just roast them in a pan, but this boil/broil method is really smart: It yields nicely roasted, caramelized sprouts that are still plump and juicy inside. And it's quick. Roasting takes a half-hour or more. Boiling and broiling takes just 12-14 minutes -- and only 10 of those minutes involve the oven, which is crucial on Thanksgiving.
But the truth is we just found these sprouts disappointing in terms of flavor. The pomegranate seeds didn't seem to mix all that well, and the horseradish got lost. (Should we have used more? Should we have tried stirring in some prepared horseradish in addition to grating the root over the top?)
There's nothing wrong with this dish. As Bart and Lisa would say, it's a perfectly cromulent side dish. But there's also nothing special about it.
Instead, if you're looking for some sprouts with star power, we suggest these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Capers, Walnuts and Anchovies, from the 2011 Thanksgiving issue of Food & Wine. Our guests that year unanimously loved those, and so did we.
>> Read the full Thanksgiving 2014 recipe index
>> Read about this year's biggest Thanksgiving trends
2 lb. Brussels sprouts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ cup olive oil
2 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus ¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp. white wine vinegar
½ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup grated horseradish
Heat oven broiler. Cook sprouts in salted boiling water, 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to an ice bath. Drain, halve, and pat dry. Toss with oil, paprika, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet. Broil until caramelized, 8–10 minutes. Toss with lemon zest and juice and vinegar. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and horseradish.