Brussels Sprouts with Aioli
Brussels Sprouts: The Perfect Comeback Kid!
Balls-Out Sprouts…Brussels Sprouts with Aioli…Remember when you were little, happily playing outside, only to be hit with the putrid, sulfuric STINK of Brussels Sprouts when you came inside? Remember the utter horror when you realized that bitter, boiled Brussels Sprouts were on the family menu that night? Bleeeechhhhh! Well, like an uber-nerdy college freshman who comes back HOT AND CONFIDENT senior year, Brussels Sprouts are back, and they’re better than ever! These wildly popular, crispy morsels have become a sexy-chic, must-try appetizer, and a tasty side dish in restaurants everywhere. We couldn’t agree more! Try this easy recipe and discover the best Brussels Sprouts you’ve ever had!
Are Brussels Sprouts Baby Cabbages?
As a Brassica, Brussels Sprouts are part of the cabbage family, along with kale, collard greens, and broccoli. Unlike cabbage, which grows as a single head out of the ground, Brussels Sprouts are buds that grow along a thick stock. These cruciferous little gems are nutritional powerhouses! They’re packed with Vitamins A, C, and K, as well as beta carotene/antioxidants folic acid, iron, and magnesium. They’re also high in selenium, which is thought to reduce the risk of certain cancers and to enhance male virility. All of these excellent benefits make Brussels Sprouts worthy of inclusion on your menu. Especially that last one!
Like A Good Ex, They’ve Lost Their Bitterness Over Time
In the 1990s, Dutch scientist Hans van Doorn identified the chemicals that make Brussels sprouts bitter: Sinigrin and Progoitrin. This allowed seed companies to produce the low-bitterness varieties that we enjoy today. Problem solved! It’s safe to say that modern-day Brussels have come a long way, and this recipe will win you over for good. Also impressive is the wide range of sizes for contemporary Sprouts, from marble to golf ball sized.
And Speaking of Size…
At the risk of sounding indelicate, SIZE MATTERS! You know it, I know it, even the Brussels Sprouts know it. Smaller Sprouts, while tasty, aren’t the best choice as a finger food. Use LARGE Brussels Sprouts for this recipe. The biggest fresh Sprouts you can find! Also, keep in mind that fresh is an absolute must – frozen sprouts will never become crispy, and really don’t work in this recipe.
Are Brussels Sprouts healthy?
Brussels sprouts have gained a reputation for being one of the healthiest vegetables around. They are low in calories but high in fiber, which makes them a great addition to any diet. They are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and potassium. These essential vitamins and minerals are important for maintaining a healthy immune system, promoting healthy bone growth, and regulating blood pressure.
Brussels sprouts also contain antioxidants that help to fight inflammation in the body, and they are a great source of protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles. Try Brussels Sprouts, oven roasted, or sautéed sprouts – there is no doubt that Brussels sprouts are incredibly healthy and should be included as part of a balanced diet.
Roasted or Sautéed Brussels Sprouts?
After trimming, halving, and tossing the Brussels Sprouts with olive oil, brown sugar, and spice, they’re ready to be cooked evenly until they’re a crispy, deep golden brown. You’re aiming for a darkish, caramelized char on the flat side, with a barely soft, (never mushy!) texture throughout. I find I get a better char by sautéing the Sprouts in a heavy skillet, cut side down @ medium-high heat, for approximately 6-10 minutes, undisturbed. Once I have a nice char, I shake the pan or stir gently, and continue cooking just until the sprouts are al dente.
If you prefer crispy roasted Brussels Sprouts, this is also best done cut side down to allow for maximum browning. Roast on a foil lined sheet pan for approximately 18-22 minutes, in an oven preheated to 400° F. For those who would rather boil their Brussels Sprouts…you should be ashamed of yourself! Have you learned nothing from your childhood?? Just….no!
What is Aioli?
True Mediterranean Aioli is a thick emulsion consisting only of mashed garlic, olive oil, and salt. Many North American versions also incorporate egg yolks, mustard and lemon, or prepared mayonnaise, for a deliciously smooth and tangy dip. With a touch of pure maple syrup, this Aioli is the perfect accompaniment to caramelized sprouts. In fact, this Brussels Sprout & Aioli duo will make a believer out of the most devout anti-sprouter. Even diehards will re-think this fabled childhood nemesis. Better late than never!
The Final Flourish for Brussels Sprouts With Maple Dijon Aioli
Lemon Juice? Grated Parmesan Cheese? Red Pepper Flakes? No! The absolute best final touch of flavor for perfect Brussels Sprouts is a drizzle of sweet, tart Balsamic Vinegar Glaze. Balsamic Glaze is simply Balsamic Vinegar that has been cooked down, reducing it to a thicker, sweeter version of its vinegar form. Prepared glaze is available in the grocery store oil/vinegar aisle. Drizzle your caramelized sprouts with Balsamic Glaze and Voila! They’re ready to serve with your fabulous homemade Aioli. As this great recipe name implies, enjoy these Brussels Sprouts balls-out, without restraint. Yum!
Funky Facts about Brussels Sprouts
Balls-Out Sprouts – Brussels Sprouts with Aioli
Balls-Out Sprouts (Brussel Sprouts with Aioli)
Easy Brussels Sprouts Recipe
For The Aioli:
- ¼ Cup Mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1½ Tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 Tsp Minced Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- Salt and Pepper To taste, optional
For The Brussels Sprouts:
- 1 Lb Brussels Sprouts Fresh, extra large
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Smokehouse Maple Seasoning i.e., McCormick's Grill Mates brand
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil For sauteing the Sprouts
- Balsamic Glaze To drizzle over plated Sprouts
- Food Picks or Mini Forks For serving
- Stir together Aioli ingredients and set aside to allow flavors to combine.
- Wash Brussels Sprouts & drain well. If moisture remains, dab with paper towel.
- Remove & discard brown or discolored outer leaves and cut off remaining stem close to the Sprout.
- Cut Sprouts in half, lengthwise. Place in a large mixing bowl with any loose outer leaves that come off during cutting.
- Add Oil, Brown Sugar and Seasoning to the bowl. Stir gently with a silicone spatula. Set aside.
- Add remaining 2 Tbsp of Olive Oil to a large heavy-bottomed skillet. Preheat the pan over medium-high heat until oil begins to shimmer.
Cook Brussels Sprouts
- Carefully add Brussels Sprouts to the skillet and ensure that all are cut side down. (Caution: hot oil may splatter when Sprouts are added.) Use a silicone spatula to scrape all remaining oil and seasonings from bowl to skillet.
- Turn heat from medium-high to just above medium, and allow Sprouts to cook, undisturbed for 6-10 minutes, or until they develop a dark, crispy, caramelized char.
- Pierce with a fork to test for doneness. Al dente is best, not soft. If additional cooking is needed, stir gently and continue cooking for a minute or two -or until crispy and golden brown. Remove from heat and place Sprouts on a serving plate immediately.
- Drizzle Brussels Sprouts lightly with Balsamic Glaze. Add the bowl of Aioli to the plate and serve with food picks or mini forks for dipping.
- Salt and Pepper to taste
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Perfect Pairing for Brussels Sprouts with Aioli
Try the Horny Fairy with Balls out Sprouts!