The quietness in this space is in no way an indication of a lack of cooking. The cooking I have been doing has been less calculated and getting back to the pure pleasure of tossing in this and that without pausing to grab the measuring cups. For months I detailed the intricacies of what hits our dinner table. I measured salt down to the grain for the purpose of writing another cookbook (coming out October 2!!) so it’s been a lovely reprieve to simply cook and eat.
The table at the shop has been full. I have found my favorite spot in this space. It’s behind the stove, tucked into the kitchen watching the full table pass around the platters of food and joyously clean their plates. I love hearing the dull roar soar to a raucous booming filling our little space.
These simple sprouts are a riff of a recent recipe I served here at the shop. The process of separating the leaves from the Brussels Sprouts may seem daunting and it can be but it’s the sort of task that is almost meditative. That is if you don’t have little children clamoring at your feet eager for dinner and saddened by the site of these little green vegetables. You could just as easily quarter them but there is nothing quite as divine as the crispy frilly leaves basted in a salty and sweet bath. In fact, I think my diners were fearful that I had burnt their lunch when this platter hit the table but after one bite and you taste the smokey char from a deep roast (*ahem* burn) in the oven they saw the intention behind my madness.
Equally delicious is this same sort of method on broccoli. You could also substitute the fish sauce for soy if you prefer.
Frizzled Brussels Sprout Leaves with Chili and Maple
Yield 4-6 Servings
1 pound brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 Calabrian chili, finely chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon chili flake)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
1/2 small lemon
Preheat your oven to 425°F and line a sheet tray with parchment paper then set aside.
Trim the ends off the brussels sprouts then pull off the outer leaves. Trim more off the end to release more of the leaves. Once the sprouts get too small to pull off individual leaves quarter what remains.
Add the Brussels sprouts to the sheet pan then drizzle with the olive oil and add a couple of hefty pinches of sea salt. Roast for 25 minutes in the top third of the oven. Stir halfway through.
In a small bowl whisk together the fish sauce, maple syrup, and Calabrian chili.
Take the sprouts out of the oven. Then 5. pour the sauce all over, stir well to coat. Top with the Parmesan and again stir to evenly coat.
Turn the oven to broil then crisp up the leaves for 3 to 5 minutes. Watch this process closely and stir often but don’t be afraid of the char. This is where deep, roasty and bitter flavors come from.
Transfer the sprouts to a serving platter then finish with a squeeze of lemon. Serve while warm or at room temperature.