January 13, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Pecans

I have three weird food things.  One, I cannot stomach melons other than watermelon.  They have such a strong flavor that permeates everything around it so that I cannot handle any fruit salad that I don't personally make.  Two, and this is the one I get the most flak for, unless they are sweet or very thin and fried I cannot handle root vegetables.  That means sweet potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, and all things similar are off limits to me.  Every time I make a dessert with pumpkin, I gag when I get the puree out of the can but want to lick the bowl by the time I'm cleaning up.  I get the courage to try savory squash dishes every month or so, but still no dice.  Still disappointing.


And my third thing?  I have extra bitter taste buds.  I'm super sensitive to citrus pith, just a little can ruin a dish for me.  Deep leafy greens need to be dowsed in dressing to make it palatable for me; I'll give my mom that excuse for not eating more kale.  Brussels sprouts had long been a forgotten vegetable because they are particularly bitter to me.  In fact, I wrote a post about the brown sugar, orange juice, and beer simmering sauce for drunk brussels sprouts that can be used to almost mask the flavor!  Won't lie, still kind of hated it despite the incredible sauce.  (Thanks, Dad!)


However, I do believe in trying everything when I'm at a dinner party.  I was at a friend's house recently and she served up a dish of roasted brussels sprouts with apples in them.  I took the "polite" portion, loaded with a lot of apples and only a couple of sprouts.  My first bite took me totally by surprise - I actually like brussels sprouts!


What a revelation!  Honestly, I felt so stupid.  I love everything roasted and have to restrain myself because if left to my own devices every post on this blog would start with the word "roasted."  This dish is a bit of an homage to the first brussels sprouts that I liked, with the apples and nuts.


I cut my sprouts into quarters to give them more surface area to crisp up (and downplay the bitter), paired them with thinly sliced and slightly wilted apples, added a little lemon juice for brightness, and finished with nutmeg to pair with the greens.  The combination of the lemon juice and the residual olive oil from roasting made an easy and flavorful bonus vinaigrette.  Paired with the roast pork, it was the perfect compliment!


My word of advice to you?  If you think you don't like something, keep trying.  It may not work, like me with sweet potatoes, but sometimes you'll surprise yourself!


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Pecans
1 lb of brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 apple, sliced thinly (I used a combo of 1/2 gala and 1/2 granny smith)
1 lemon, zest and juice
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
handful of pecans (or your favorite nuts)

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Line a baking sheet with foil.

Prepare the brussels sprouts.  Trim the bottoms, cut into quarters, and remove loose outer leaves.  Save for salads, if that's your thing.

Toss the sprouts in olive oil and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and then roast at 400 for 20 minutes, stirring at the ten minute mark.

While the sprouts are roasting, prepare the apples.  Prevent browning by juicing half of the lemon over the sliced apples.  Over medium high heat, "wilt" about half of the apple slices in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  At the last second, add the other half of the apple, lemon zest, the rest of the lemon juice, and the nutmeg.  Set aside.

Toast the nuts of your choice in a dry pan over medium heat, watching closely.  Roughly chop and set aside.

To assemble, combine the roasted sprouts with a little of the olive oil from roasting, the sautéed apples, and the toasted nuts.  Serve up and enjoy!

3 comments:

  1. I love Brussels Sprouts (though not if they're boiled--yuuck)… these are beautiful. Try mine sometime…here's a link where I pair them with potatoes. But i also do them without…and put them in the middle of a caprese salad:) http://moretimeatthetable.com/2012/07/27/38-power-foods-week-7-brussels-sprouts-pan-roasted-brussels-sprouts-with-new-potatoes-and-parmesan/
    Try chopped root vegetables in your vegetable or bean soup sometime and see what you think. Just a thought. Happy Monday!

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  2. Yum! I love roasted brussels sprouts. And pecans? Oh, I'm in. I usually make my brussels sprouts like this-- http://blog.hostthetoast.com/roasted-honey-balsamic/, I'll have to try your version soon!

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  3. I love roasted Brussels sprouts but never would have thought of adding apples. Since I have an apple orchard and each fall have thousands of apples, you know I'll be making this dish often.

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