ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
We got hooked on these in California. If you throw in a little pancetta or chopped bacon before roasting, it suddenly becomes a light main.
When shopping for Brussels sprouts, choose those still attached to the stalk, if possible. In any case, look for small, tight green heads smaller than 1 1/2 inches in diameter… they tend to be the sweetest. The very best ones have tight, bright green leaves, and feel heavy for their size.
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
|1/4 cup pine nuts (pignoli)||Spread evenly on a little toaster oven pan. Toast at 300°F just until fragrant (4-5 minutes), monitoring closely to avoid burning. Set aside to cool.
Position an oven rack just below center; preheat to 450°F “Convection” (verify with an oven thermometer). Meanwhile start preparing the sprouts.
|Toasting amplifies flavor and lightens texture.
Ovens often run hot or cold, or preheat slowly. A very hot oven makes sprouts light.
|16 ounces Brussels sprouts, halved||Set aside.
Tip: Pop heads off the stalk; peel off loose or yellowed leaves. Trim stems and cut in half from top to bottom.
|Cutting in half exposes the core to promote even cooking.|
|4 cloves (1 ounce) garlic, quartered||Set aside.
Tip: After separating a garlic clove from the head; cut off the root end. Place the broad side of a chef’s knife over top; strike with your fist or palm. Release skin and discard. Quarter.
|Large pieces of garlic are less likely to burn during roasting.|
|1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon roughly ground black pepper
|In a 3-quart bowl, whisk all together; add sprouts and garlic. With your fingers, toss and rub until evenly coated; spread into a single layer on a quarter sheet pan, cut sides up. Roast until browned (15-18 minutes).||A touch of honey offsets sprout bitterness. Regular (inexpensive) olive oil is used here because the subtle flavors of extra-virgin are lost upon heating.|
|1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil||Drizzle over sprouts and toss. Top with toasted pine nuts and serve hot or at room temperature.||Finishing with extra-virgin adds a fresh nutty flavor.|
Testing Notes: 400°F requires a longer roasting time, yielding tougher sprouts that lost their appealing bright green color. Lining the sheet pan with parchment paper reduced desirable browning.
ROASTED BRUSSELS WITH PANCETTA
After the garlic, distribute 2 ounces finely diced pancetta over top.
PARMESAN ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Before serving, distribute 1 ounce shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano over top.