Brussels sprouts. Yuck!
Over the years, bitter little brussels sprouts and I have not been close. Sure, we hung out together a few times. Sure, I oogled the little green brussels in the bins at Sprouts and picked out the most handsome ones to bring home with me. I’ll admit, I even included them once at my holiday table.
But, there was just no spark between us. Ever.
I had pretty much decided to end our relationship forever when this Food52 recipe for brussels sprouts gratin came across my desk. Maple syrup? Pecans? A gratin? Maybe this could be a game changer.
I swiped right.
I know. I know. One should never-ever-never rekindle a relationship, particularly one where there has been some bitterness involved, because you think you can change the other party for the better. But, you know, sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants.
Turns out, brussels sprouts can be pretty delicious.
I served this dish to my handyman Tony yesterday at lunch (along with a bowl of the tomato basil soup that also appears in an earlier posting on this blog). Tony was doing some of the never-ending jobs that seem inevitably to come with home ownership–at least, my home ownership. He told me he had never before eaten brussels sprouts and was pretty interested in giving them a try. He confided in me that, as a child in Mexico, he used to juggle brussels sprouts as a game. He said he pretended to be a giant who was juggling cabbages. I love that image.
Tony and I both give this recipe two thumbs up.
Here is the gratin recipe:
Yields 6-8 servings
30 minPrep Time
35 minCook Time
1 hr, 5 Total Time
- For the gratin
- 1 pound brussels sprouts
- 1 C. vegetable broth
- 1/2 C. heavy cream
- 1 T. whole-grain mustard
- 1 t. maple syrup (grade B is best)
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
- For the topping:
- 1 C. bread crumbs (from dry bread--I used a baguette)
- 1/2 C. chopped pecans (or more)
- 2 T. unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 and 1/2 t. maple syrup
- 1/4 t. kosher salt
- 4-6 ounces gruyere cheese (optional)
- Place your oven rack in the middle position and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Wash and prepare your brussels sprouts. Trim off the tough stem ends, wash and discard any damaged leaves.
- Using the shredding blade on your food processor, thinly slice the brussels sprouts. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk broth, cream, mustard, maple syrup, salt and black pepper together. Add the brussels sprouts to the mixture. Pour this mixture into a one-quart gratin dish or a shallow baking pan in an even layer.
- Combine all the topping ingredients into a medium bowl. Stir this mixture until everything is well-mixed. Spread this topping mixture evenly over the top of the shredded brussels sprouts.
- Bake, uncovered, for approximately 35 minutes. The gratin should be golden brown when the dish is ready.
- Remove from oven and let dish cool on the counter. To my taste, this is best served when the gratin is only slightly warm. I was better able to taste the maple flavor.
I deviated from the original recipe by adding the gruyere cheese to the topping. I thought the cheese gave added flavor to the dish. Next time, though, I'm going to prepare the dish without the cheese and see how it tastes. The maple syrup flavor is a wonderful foil for the bitterness of the brussels sprouts. The flavor of the maple syrup (and the pecans) might be stronger without competition from the cheese.
The photo posted with this recipe is a photo of the gratin before it is baked.
The recipe in this post is adapted from one that appears on the Food52 food blog. Here is a link to that blog: