Rowdy: Bruce was telling me about his recipe for deep fried Brussels sprouts today at work!
M: Did I tell you about the time I threw my mother’s Brussels sprouts off the deck into the ravine?
R: It’s too bad you don’t like Brussels sprouts, because this sounds fantastic!
M: Did you know Brussels sprouts were created by the Nazis as a weapon to terrorize the British?
R: I’m going to try it!
M: I’m unfond of Brussels sprouts.
R: I like Brussels sprouts!
M: You like eating poison?
R: I asked him whether he ever braises them, but he said he thought that might diminish the flavor, which is probably true.
M: I have to go to the bathroom.
R: Do you want to try them braised?
M: Oh dear God.
R: So anyway, he says you cut them in quarters…
R: …and fry them in olive oil. I wonder whether they come apart and turn into Brussels sprouts chips!
M: I would sooner crawl across a field of broken glass and used needles.
R: Then he says he dresses them in a vinaigrette.
M: (Holds eyeballs as if in terrible pain)
R: I’m wondering whether tossing them with a salsa verde might work, too.
M: Tossing them into a ravine would be better.
R: Did you really throw the Brussels sprouts off the deck?
Even as a child, I liked Brussels sprouts. They were miniature cabbages, Barbie-sized cabbages if you will, and I’ve never in my life been able to resist miniature anything. The flavor could be a little strong, but even the most basic version–boiled, then tossed with butter, salt and pepper–was fine by me.
I really can’t remember the last time I ate a Brussels sprout, though. How often do they show up as a side dish? They are the long-lost Uncle of vegetables. Remembered fondly but rarely seen, and a little seems to go a long way for most people. Maybe this recipe won’t convince a certain skeptic, but if it’s been a while for you too, you might just be pleasantly surprised.
I don’t deep-fry food at home, generally speaking. But I can’t deny that almost anything tastes better after it’s been immersed in boiling oil, and Brussels sprouts are no exception. They go from humble and homely to complex and sophisticated. These are tender, chewy, nutty, with a surprisingly mild flavor and a subtle sweetness that is highlighted by the tangy Salsa Verde.
The extra Salsa Verde will keep in the refrigerator for a few days and can be tossed with potatoes, cauliflower, or spooned over salmon.
Deep Fried Brussels Sprouts
(Adapted from Michael Symon’s Live To Cook)
- Olive Oil, for frying
- 12 Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp diced onion
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- juice of 2 limes
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp English mustard
- ½ tsp salt
Pour 1 inch of oil into a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Heat the oil to 350 degrees.
While the oil is heating, combine the ingredients for the Salsa Verde and blend with an immersion blender or food processor. You will have extra Salsa Verde. Keep ¾ cup in a large bowl near the stovetop.
Working in batches, fry the Brussels sprouts until the edges begin to curl and brown, about 3 minutes, turning as needed. Remove the contents of the pot with a skimmer and place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain. When all Brussels sprouts are fried, add to the bowl of dressing. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.