Forgive me if this is a bit premature. You may not want to think about Brussels sprouts just yet. You have probably been snubbing them at the grocery store, quickly walking by them to get to the late season sweet corn on the cob.
But Brussels sprouts are in season too, since they are best after a few hard frosts. They are small and crisp right now, and begging to be roasted, the perfect vegetable to usher in the fall.
The stunning ground cover of the Lower Faces, at the Jackson Hole Ski Resort.
Aspens in their peak of color make the blue sky appear even bluer.
The classic go-to Brussels sprouts preparation involves tossing them on a roasting pan with olive oil, garlic and salt, then roasting them in a hot oven until toasty and brown. If I'm not too lazy, I'll throw in some crisp bacon bits, or drizzle it all with maple syrup in the last few minutes of cooking.
Cottonwood trees turning yellow along the Snake River frame the Sleeping Indian Mountain, which will soon be blanketed in snow.
A new Brussels sprouts recipe fell onto my lap courtesy of my friend Casey.
She and I share a thing for Brussels sprouts. Around the same time, I had been working my way through the Momofuku cookbook, from which this recipe was taken. Roasted Brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette
doesn't sound particularly inviting. Fish sauce is the extremely pungent Southeast Asian condiment made from salted, fermented fish. It smells even worse than it sounds but lends Thai food its depth of flavor, its richness, its umami.
I like my sprouts a little bit burnt, just like my marshmallows.
Only David Chang, the fabulously successful chef of the Momofuku restaurant empire, would think of pairing stinky little cabbages with an even stinkier sauce. The combination works, somehow, and it is my new favorite preparation for the humble Brussels sprout.
Sleeping Indian from the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, rising up out of the early morning fog.
I love my Brussels sprouts roasted and almost burnt, to bring out their sweet complexity. This dish starts by throwing the sprout halves into a hot frying pan, to get them nicely burnt, and then finishing them in the oven until they are cooked through. The warm Brussels sprouts are then tossed with the Fish Sauce Vinaigrette. The finished dish won't win any beauty contests, but it tastes great, especially alongside grilled pork chops on a bed of curried peach chutney.
Roasted Brussels sprouts with fish sauce vinaigrette, in all its humble glory.
Pork chops are rubbed with salt and pepper, grilled and sprinkled with fresh thyme. A sweet and savory curried peach relish balances the salty Brussels sprouts.
Our fall colors are more subdued than the ones I grew up with in New York, but they sure make the mountains and the sky even more stunning.
These photos of Jackson Hole's gorgeous Indian summer are not just for your benefit, by the way. David Chang, stressed from the demands of his success, recently commented in Food and Wine
magazine: "There are days when I think I should give it all up and move to Jackson Hole." (Food and Wine, October 2011, http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/david-chang-vegetarian-korean-dishes
So in a cheap attempt to lure the young Korean chef here, I am presenting our mountains in all their fall glory. He could open a noodle shop, like his Noodle Bar in New York City, and we could feast on ramen with pork belly, Momofuku pork buns, and bacon dashi with potatoes and clams (David loves pork, especially Benton's bacon). He could take up fly-fishing, mountain biking, and backcountry skiing. What do you say, David? Momofuku West?
South end of the Teton Range, framed by the Aspens in my backyard.
In the meantime, I'll be working my way through the Momofuku cookbook, perfecting his ramen broth, attempting his kimchi stew with rice cakes and shredded pork, and finding more uses for fish sauce vinaigrette.
For a printable version of each recipe, click on the file below it.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
In the Momofuku cookbook, by David Chang and Peter Meehan, this dish is prepared with roasted or fried cauliflower or Brussels sprouts. I am a big fan of the cauliflower variation, too, which I've been having for lunch all week.
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts (or 4 cups cauliflower florets, about one head)
- 2 Tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil, for pan-frying
- 1/2 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1-3 Thai chiles, thinly sliced, or a pinch of red pepper flakes
Curried peach chutney goes well with the salty sprouts.
- Combine the fish sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, lime juice, sugar, garlic and chiles (or red pepper flakes) in a jam jar. Shake well to combine.
- Trim the Brussels sprouts of any discolored outer leaves, and cut in half.
- Pat the Brussels sprouts dry with a towel (you don't want any water droplets to splatter on the hot oil).
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in an oven-safe wide 12-inch skillet over medium high heat.
- Carefully add the halved sprouts to the hot pan, cut side down.
- When the cut surface begins to brown, transfer the pan to the oven and roast at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, or until they tender but not soft. Upon removal, be sure to keep the handle of the skillet covered with a pot holder!
- Toss the hot Brussels sprouts (or cauliflower) with the fish sauce vinaigrette and serve. This is a great side dish to serve with grilled meat and a sweet and savory chutney, like curried peach chutney.
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Curried Peach Chutney
This recipe was inspired by the Gourmet Grilling special issue of Summer 2011. Remember Gourmet, which fell victim to a print-hostile economy in 2009? An avid fan since the age of 20, I still have all my back copies.
Please make sure you are using fresh curry powder that smells bright and spicy, not stale. Thank you.
- 1 Tablespoon canola or other vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1 Tablespoon minced, peeled ginger
- 1 teaspoon Kosher, or coarse salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 4-5) firm ripe peaches, peeled and diced
- 1/2 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced (drained canned diced tomatoes work well)
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
Peaches and tomatoes are the unlikely partners in this sweet and savory sauce.
- Heat canola oil in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat.
- Add red onion, ginger and salt. Sauté until onion is soft, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add curry powder and cook for another minute.
- Add peaches, tomatoes, lime juice and sugar.
- Simmer, uncovered, until the peaches are soft and the chutney is thick like marmalade.
- Serve warm or cold with grilled meats. The chutney mellows and improved with age, so make a day ahead if you can. Makes great leftovers for sandwiches, grilled fish or chicken.
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Fish Sauce: Popular throughout Southeast Asia, fish sauce can be any of various mixtures based on the liquid from salted, fermented fish. It's used as a condiment and as a flavoring, much as soy sauce would be used. Nam pla is the fish sauce of Thailand. The Vietnamese have nuoc nam, the Japanese have shottsuru, and you can find patis in the Philippines. from the Deluxe Food Lover's Companion, by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst