Wednesday, January 24

Brussels Sprouts on Botox

It happens every Sunday. Clamoring crowds jostle for space around the popular tables at the farmers’ market to check out the hip Meyer lemons, the chic wild arugula, and the sexy red strawberries (yes Dad, we really did have fresh strawberries this past week).

Not so at the cruciferous vegetables table. There lie the Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower (of which only the funky Romanesco variety is getting any attention). These uncomely vegetables patiently wait for someone to come by and check them out. It is a long wait.

This past Sunday the Brussels sprouts were carelessly dumped in a lop-sided pile, causing stray runaway sprouts to keep rolling off the table's edge and onto the concrete. Inspired by Molly’s witty post at Orangette, I thought I would take on a challenge. A makeover for three undatable vegetables: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli. The make-up? Breadcrumbs.

There aren’t many foods in Italian homes that don’t get egged and breadcrumbed to spectacular results. Vegetables from eggplant to zucchini, meats from chicken to veal, and seafood from calamari to smelts, when made with the right breadcrumbs, are brilliant in their simplicity and fabulous in their flavor. Fortunately, my mom and dad had recently sent me a fresh container of Buono’s Bakery breadcrumbs from Rhode Island.

Seriously. My parents actually ship me breadcrumbs.

Turns out that the closest place to get good breadcrumbs from my apartment in LA is exactly 2,970 miles away (I Google mapped it). We cannot get good breadcrumbs here. "You’re crazy!" you say. Nope. We’re not. We have lived in California for 3 ½ years; we have tried pounds of breadcrumbs. They just don't compare. Every time we got breadcrumbs, we would always say, "Well, they’re not as good as Buono’s." So we decided, why not have mom ship us some? And so it began. As you will learn from this blog, there are many things which are shipped from RI to CA, most of which originate from Federal Hill in Providence.

If you can’t get Buono’s breadcrumbs, you can:

1. Make them from scratch.
2. Use Panko breadcrumbs.
3. Ask my mom to send you some. Actually, don’t. She seriously would send them to you.

Today, I’ll share the Brussels sprouts recipe; the cauliflower and broccoli ones will follow shortly. To keep my meals low-cal and healthy, I don’t fry vegetables; I prefer to bake them in a hot oven or to sauté them with a little bit of olive oil or butter. While I often make Brussels sprouts with a maple syrup or brown sugar glaze, I love this lighter, cleaner version as well. Here, the sprouts are par-boiled then sautéed until blistered, browned, and slightly crunchy. The savory butter and garlic mellows the sprouts’ bitterness, and the citrus adds a tangy, bright touch. It’s a breeze to make, and with the right lighting and make-up, even Brussels sprouts can look pretty.

Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Lemon
Makes 4 servings.
Print recipe only here.

3 cups Brussels sprouts,halved
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of lemon zest
¼ cup breadcrumbs, toasted
Salt & pepper, to taste

Peel off any marked outer leaves of the sprouts and trim the bottoms; slice in half. Boil for 3-4 minutes. Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water; this will stop the cooking and maintain the sprouts' vibrant color.
To toast the breadcrumbs, place in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, while giving the pan handle a few shakes to toast the breadcrumbs evenly. Once they begin to turn golden, remove them from the heat and place in a bowl, as the heat from the pan will continue to toast them.

Meanwhile in a skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic in the butter. Once the butter begins to bubble up and the garlic starts to jump a little, add the sprouts. Cook about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown spots start to appear on the sprouts. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Add the toasted breadcrumbs into the skillet and toss gently. Add more breadcrumbs on top before serving; sprinkle with lemon zest if desired.


Scribbit said...

I've never done it before now but I've just finished going through each of the blogs on your sidebar, and you've got wonderful links--so many talented people it's intimidating.

My sage feeds list has multiplied. Thanks!

wheresmymind said...

Now see, those are some 'sprouts I can get into!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming to my site--it led me to yours, which is pleasure to read! Brussels sprouts rule in our house. My husband adores them, a feeling I didn't share at the beginning of our relationship. But, now I love them too. Your pictures look so delicious! That's a great recipe.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, Susan, those poor things!
Lucky them to have you to their rescue! :D

This dish looks so good, the recipe calls for a few ingredients and it seems to be made so quickly - to me, this is perfect.

Can't wait for the other vegetables - Susan style. :D

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I am glad you found the links helpful.

Yeh! Chalk one more up for the Brussels sprouts!

Thanks so much for the compliments.
Your husband is a good man. :)

You're sweet. Hope you try it since it really is quick and easy. Look forward to your next visit.

Melting Wok said...

Susan, thanks for the kind words on my blog :) I usually grill these w/garlic butter. This recipe is simply refreshing, with some lemon zest, and yummy panko, loving it, thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Great pictures of your brussels sprouts -- they really do look pretty. However I have to admit that I have a rocky relationship with Brussels sprouts. The only way I ever eat them is steamed and then marinated in a vinaigrette with hot peppers. Sad, isn't it? And they look nowhere near as pretty as this.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Melting Wok-
Grilled with garlic butter sounds awfully good too.

Actually, vinaigrette with hot peppers also sounds delicious. I'm going to try both of these.

Thanks you guys!

Anonymous said...

The short stories preceding each recipe are a perfect intro toyour great recipes; Buono's bread crumbs are the best because they bake the best bread in the world. Induced me to buy a loaf of their bread to have with the oil from Cook and Ladder mentioned in a prior article. Dad

Scribbit said...

Oh, and I have to report that as of Friday morning I am in possession of one fine bag of Brussel sprouts. The recipe was too tempting to let pass.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Yeh, Dad! You posted to my blog! I was so excited when I saw your message.
You think you could send me a piece of that bread?

Anonymous said...

you are never too old to learn something new; especially if it is from your daughter. I am so proud of you. Love Mom

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Thanks Michelle! I hope you enjoy it.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Hi Mom!

You always say the sweetest things.

Wishing you were here,

Love, Susan

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

If you ever lose your connection to get Buono's breadcrumbs, please let me know -- I live just a few miles from there, and it is truly a wonderful bakery.

Rachel Rubin said...

Okay, your picture of brussel sprouts actually makes them look good. I have never had a good brussel sprout in my life. I have tried over and over (well, not that often) and I just can't do it. I would have been at that fruit market, seen them and turned right on my heal. However I do like broccoli and cauliflower!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until Farmers Market time here in the midwest!

Anonymous said...

I am a major brussel sprouts fan and this just sounds delicious. Maybe tonight! This is a great blog, Susan!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Oh, how lucky you are! Thanks!

Hey, two of three ain't bad!

I know, they're so wonderful!

Thanks a lot! Hope you like it!

Molly said...

Gorgeous, Susan! What a makeover for the lowly sprout! You're doin' 'em proud.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Thanks so much. I have learned a lot from your site.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Thanks for visiting my blog so that I can discover yours. It's lovely and your feelings on food and family are so much like mine.

I love brussel sprouts. The Alhambra Farmer's Market had them on stalks! People were cradling it like a baby. :)

When I was in college my parents used to ship me food all the time. But now I live near my dad's family so they figure the family's got it covered. But I do miss getting food packages in the mail...

Susan from Food Blogga said...

So glad you stopped by!

The sprouts on the stalks never fail to fascinate everyone at the farmers' market :)

cindy said...

they call brussel sprouts 'martian brains' at my house...needless to say i don't cook them anymore! the picture of the strawberries looks so yummy...i sooo miss fresh strawberries, the smell of them makes me homesick. i grew up in salinas ca., and we had a few friends that worked in the strawberry fields and always brought us flats of berries, sometimes still warm from the sun.

Max said...

My mom used to make Brussel Sprouts with breadcrumbs when I was little and it was the only way I would eat them. Your recipe sounds delicious!

Caley said...


CAMOON said...

I'm going to make these for Thanksgiving. Thanks!
I was totallly intimidated by the idea but this helps.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

CAMoon-Yay! I'm happy to hear it!