Friday, March 18, 2016

Brown Butter Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta, Sage, and Almonds

My love affair with brussels sprouts was a relatively recent one - not more than seven years - when I first encountered these bittersweet, bite-sized buds in America. I used to sauté them till al dente then dip them in mayonnaise - a perfect contrast for their tinge of bitterness. If you asked me, I never quite understood why kids have such profound abhorrence towards brussels sprouts, or any vegetables for that matter - but then again, growing up I did not have a choice of what to eat. I ate everything... seriously, for the love of food. I wasn't the slimmest boy next door, either.

It was really back in early 2013 when my love affair with brussels sprouts reached new heights after pigging out at Manhattan Beach Post, LA, just minutes away from the miles-stretch of Southern Californian beach. It was my first time meeting my high school buddy Pablo's better half, Brooke. Pablo and Brooke were mad in love with each other (and still are), and I, was mad in love with the Roasted brussels sprouts, emmental, hazelnuts, sage - a creation by chef and co-owner David LeFevre - a dish that hit me like a tsunami of intense flavors and textures.

This tasty dish will convert any remaining brussels sprouts skeptics

Brooke & Pablo at MB Post, LA [Feb 2013]
Roasted brussels sprouts caramelized with brown butter, are you kidding me? Ever since then, this seems to be the only way to cook and do justice to brussels sprouts. Brown butter is essentially butter that has been browned, adding a rich, nutty and toasty aroma to all that it graces, be it sweet or savory. If butter makes anything good, as the controversial Paula Deen swears by, then brown butter makes anything phenomenal. Just do it with moderation, as with everything.

It took me years to finally post this tweaked recipe that I have been too selfish longing to share all along. I tend to use whatever nuts, cheese and herbs I have on hand and in my garden. I have once tossed in sweet, garlicky Taiwanese sausages with astounding results, and another time dumped the brussels sprouts onto a bed of rocket and added a swig more of balsamic glaze and made an incredible warm salad. If you are concerned about the caloric intake from butter, use less, toss the brussels sprouts in olive oil, season, roast in oven, and finish off by pouring the brown butter over the top.

Cast iron will get you the unbeatable charred results fast and can go straight into the oven!

What you'll need...
1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
4 tablespoons butter, sliced
Pancetta, diced (optional)
Small handful of almonds, roughly chopped and toasted
6-8 leaves fresh sage, chopped
Grated Emmental, Gruyère, or mature cheddar
A dash of balsamic glaze or balsamic vinegar


1. Preheat oven to 160C/320F.

2. In a small saucepan, heat butter on low heat. Once melted the butter will foam up then subside. Stir occasionally with a spatula and, watching closely, remove butter from heat and transfer to a heat proof bowl shortly after golden brown specks (browned milk solids) begin to appear and you smell a nutty, toasty aroma.

3. On a cast iron or non-stick skillet, pour in most of the brown butter, reserving some for later. Add pancetta (if using) and brussels sprouts, cut side down, and cook on medium heat until the cut sides are charred.
4. Lightly season with salt and pepper, pour remaining brown butter over and roast for 7-8 mins until just cooked through.

5. When done, remove from oven and top with grated cheese, toasted almonds, and sage. Finish off with a dash of balsamic glaze. Enjoy!!


球芽甘藍  1 磅(洗好切半)
牛油   50 克
義大利培根切粒  少量(素食可免)
杏仁切片  15 克 
鼠尾草  6-8片
芝士磨碎(如 瑞士艾曼托,格律耶爾,或 成熟車打)少量
義大利巴薩米可醋  少量

1. 預熱焗爐至 160C / 320F。
2. 杏仁放入焗爐烘香。
3. 牛油用慢火煮溶,期間會起泡。
4. 偶然用膠刮攪拌,煮至牛油開始呈現咖啡色小塊及聞到焦香後可以熄火。
5. 將焦香牛油倒入耐熱容器內,以防燒焦。
6. 焦香牛油預留少量備用,其餘的倒在鑄鐵鍋或易潔上。
7. 將球芽甘藍切面向下連同培根平鋪在鍋上,用中火慢煎至切面呈深啡色。
8. 用鹽及鮮磨黑椒輕輕調味,淋上剩餘焦香牛油,再放入焗爐烤至熟透,約7-8分鐘。
9. 烘好後取出並撒上芝士,杏仁,鼠尾草,最後加上少量巴薩米可醋即成。慢用!

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