Brussels Sprout Hash
When I think about cooking, I often dwell on the transformation that occurs by combining ingredients, heat, stirring, blending or chopping. I suppose transformation is at the heart of most cooking. Sometimes it is dramatic, like making mayonnaise, caramelizing onions, turning juice and zest into curd. Other times it is simple and there is nothing stunning about it. I recently discovered that humble, often maligned, brussels sprouts can be transformed from orbs of tightly bound leaves into a simple hash that brings out their flavor and glorious green-ness.
As I mentioned on Monday, there’s not much nothing growing around here this time of year. The brussels sprouts that I bought at the co-op are California natives, but after enjoying a brussels sprout hash as part of a restaurant meal, I couldn’t resist trying it in my kitchen. There are certain foods and flavors that just taste nourishing. Not in a oh this must be healthy because it tastes awful sort of way but in a way that makes me physically feel good, and nourished as I eat it. When fresh vegetables are less abundant it is easy to not eat enough of them and to gravitate toward foods that I crave regardless of whether they are good for me. Then I rediscover those nourishing tastes and now lovely these little sprouts can be.
Brussels Sprout Hash
I always want to call this recipe a slaw but because it is cooked, it must be a hash. I recently purchased a fairly cheap and slightly dangerous mandolin and used that for shredding the sprouts. A knife will work fine, just slice them as thinly as you can. This recipe is loosely based on one from Epicurious.
1 pound of brussels sprouts
2 small shallots
3 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper
Rinse the brussels sprouts, remove any obvious yellow leaves or bad spots. Slice them very thinly so that the leaves become very thin short ribbons.
Thinly slice the shallots. Place a skillet or saute pan over medium-low heat and add a tablespoon of butter. When the butter has melted, add the slices shallots and let them cook, stirring occasionally until they are caramelized. If they stick to the pan or start to burn, like mine did, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and scrape everything off the bottom of the pan. When the shallots are caramelized, remove them from the pan.
Turn the heat to medium-high and add the remaining butter and the shredded brussels sprouts. Stir the sprouts so they cook evenly. They should brown and caramelize slightly over the heat but not become overcooked and soggy. When they are becoming a bright, cooked, green (3-4 minutes) add the cooked shallots, another splash of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Stir to combine, taste to adjust seasoning and serve immediately.