I know that a lot of people are upset that it’s still freezing cold and snowing in New York, but I love it. I don’t want it to be hot, sticky, and sweaty, which is more often the case than not during the summers here. I like being bundled up, being able to wrap a blanket around myself on the couch or bury myself in my comforter on my bed, instead of having to beg the air conditioning unit to pump out more cold air, and faster, and gingerly blow-drying my hair so that I don’t work too fast, start to get hot, and then have the nicely straightened and styled locks of hair stick to my neck and become curly and frizzy again. Nope, not looking forward to that at all. I’ll deal with the snow, and I know that humid, 90-degree weather is only a couple of month away, so I will enjoy each brisk gust of wind and my trudge through the streets with an umbrella held directly in front of me to stop freezing rain from smacking me in the face as I push forward. I guess I do miss sunshine; I think that the last really nice, sunny weekend was about two weeks ago, and people went nuts! All anyone could talk about was going to the park, sitting outside, enjoying the clear weather, and honestly, it was only about 45 degrees, but the sun was so welcoming that people went without jackets, anyway.
I hopped on the Brussels sprouts train and at the time, Kramer only begrudgingly followed me. Now, though, he can’t get enough of them. When they are in season, we eat them at least once a week, if not more, and I don’t think that I will ever get sick of them. They have the starchiness of a potato, but are full of fiber and vitamins that tubers lack. Plus, when you slice them and a few leaves fall to the wayside, be sure to add them back to the mixture because those little babies get all crispy and delicious when roasted, and the texture is incredible. The nearly blackened leaves are, admittedly, my favorite part of roasted sprouts, especially when eaten with this fish sauce vinaigrette from David Chang. I actually made these for Thanksgiving last year, and Kramer took the written recipe, stuck it on the fridge, and wrote in big, red letters “make me again!” on the front. Message received! We’ve made this a few times and it is simply irresistible. The vinaigrette is almost addictive, to be honest. I have to stop myself from dipping carrots or lettuce leaves or whatever other veggies are laying around in it while the Brussels sprouts finish cooking, or else I’d probably suck down the entire bowl. The fish sauce is salty and pungent, but when paired with sugar, lime juice, garlic, and spicy peppers, it takes on a rich, sweet, and savory flavor that is beyond compare. I save any leftover vinaigrette and use it throughout the week, but honestly, I drench my sprouts in the stuff if given the opportunity because it is unbelievably good. Have I talked up this recipe enough, yet? Good, because this is without a doubt my favorite way to eat (see: inhale) Brussels sprouts, and it will soon be yours, too.
Soaking mushrooms to make a broth for some mussels (recipe to come), which after eating Kramer promptly napped, then we watched, you guessed it, Lost.
This is a super simple dish to make. Just halve your sprouts, make your sauce, crisp ‘em up, and toss.
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- grapeseed oil (preferred as it’s neutral in flavor, but olive or canola is fine, too – I recommend picking some up because it’s great to rub your cast iron pans down with, too)
- ⅓ cup fish sauce, plus more to taste (some brands are saltier than others – start here and add more if you like – I did)
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- juice of 1 lime
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1 to 3 red bird’s-eye chiles, thinly sliced with seeds (I only had a jalapeño pepper, so I used two of these)
- First, roast your Brussels sprouts. You can wash them if needed, but I rarely do unless they are crazy dirty. Just remove any leaves with dirt on them (although try to keep some leaves because they get extra crispy and delicious while roasting), trim, and halve.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat in 2 cast iron pans (obviously I halved this recipe for my 2-person household), then add in the sprouts, cut side down. When the cut side of the sprouts begin to brown, about 5-8 minutes, place the pans in the oven to finish cooking for 15 minutes or so, until tender. If you don’t have 2 large pans, you can toss the Brussels sprouts in the oil, place them on a baking sheet, and put them right in the oven (cut side down) for 20-25 minutes, tossing them after 10 minutes or once they start to brown.
- While the sprouts roast, make your sauce. Simply combine the fish sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chiles/peppers in a jar and shake it all up. For a more intense flavor, you can pulse them all together in a food processor, as I did. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. If it’s too salty, add more water or lime juice. This vinaigrette is insanely delicious and will keep up to a week in the fridge, so save any extras for other purposes.
- Once the Brussels sprouts are ready, remove them from the oven and toss with about half of the vinaigrette. Taste, and add more vinaigrette until the flavor is where you want it to be.