Deep Purple

A real looker of a Brussel sprout.
A real looker of a Brussel sprout.

I think Prince would have definitely approved of these Brussels sprouts, don’t you?

With vivid purple streaks, these beauties were grown by Covilli Organics, a family-owned, fair trade-certified farm in Mexico. I snagged them recently in my grocery deliver order from GoodEggs.

They’re slightly sweeter and a little less bitter-sulfur in taste. And yes, the purple will fade a bit once cooked.

Still, what a marvel these are. I typically halve Brussels sprouts, and place them cut-side down in a cast-iron pan on the stove-top to cook or on a sheet pan in an oven at high temperature. But a new sprout called out for a new technique to try.

No surprise, I found what I was looking for in the seminal “Vegetable Literacy” (Ten Speed Press, 2014) by Deborah Madison, the founding chef of San Francisco’s Greens, the pioneering plant-forward restaurant.

Her “Slivered Brussels Sprouts Roasted with Shallots” is a very simple recipe. The only part that takes any real effort is slicing the sprouts with a mandoline.

Mix the thin slices with equally thinly sliced shallots. I actually used green garlic instead, since it’s just coming into season. Season with a little olive oil and salt, and pop the dish into a hot oven.

All ready to get roasted.
All ready to get roasted.
Warm out of the oven.
Warm out of the oven.

Madison’s recipe calls for a 400-degree oven. I think you can actually crank up the heat a bit to 425 degrees, which will caramelize and crisp up the sprouts even more, so I adjusted the recipe to reflect that. Just be sure to keep an eye on them, though, so they don’t char in one spot too much.

When the sprouts are tender, season them generously with salt and a little vinegar. I used sherry vinegar for its lovely wine fruitiness.

What you end up with is a gratin dish full of Brussels sprouts done almost in the style of hash browns, with wispy pieces that are soft and others that are crisp.

It’s just a bit different, as befitting a sprout that’s a little offbeat.

Soft plus crisp -- in one spoonful.
Soft plus crisp — in one spoonful.

Slivered Brussels Sprouts Roasted with Shallots or Green Garlic

(Serves 4 as a side dish)

1 pound Brussels sprouts

4 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt

2 large shallots slivered or 2 green garlic bulbs and some of their green tops, slivered

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a few drops of vinegar, any variety, including sherry

Freshly ground peppers or a few pinches of red pepper flakes

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut off the base of each sprout, remove any damaged or discolored leaves, and then thinly slice the sprouts crosswise on a mandoline. (Be careful and use the guard!) Toss the slices with 3 tablespoons of the oil, a scant teaspoon of salt, and the shallots or green garlic and then put them in an earthenware gratin dish or baking dish. They do not need to be spread out in a single layer. In fact, it’s better if they are piled up so that they don’t dry out.

Roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, toss, and return to the oven for 10 minutes more. Repeat until they are tender and browned in places, another 10 or 15 minutes, keeping a close eye on them to ensure they don’t get overly charred.

When the sprouts are done, toss them with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the lemon juice, season with pepper, and serve.

Adapted from “Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison

Another Recipe from Deborah Madison to Try: Braised Endive with Gorgonzola

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