Sunday, August 28, 2005

Creamy Brussels sprout gratin

Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables American kids hate; they're the butt of jokes, the threatened meal when a kid misbehaves, and are generally considered to be awful. I think I had them once (boiled and plain) when I was a kid, and I hated them.

Forget everything bad you've ever heard about Brussels sprouts: none of it applies to this recipe. These Brussels sprouts are roasted for half an hour, giving them a delicious browned outer layer, but that's not it: after they've been roasted, they're covered in breadcrumbs, cheese, and cream, and then broiled so they end up with a browned crust on top. This recipe ranks right up there with roasted cauliflower, roasted asparagus with garlic and olive oil, and garlicky creamed spinach in my book. Since we made this recipe last weekend and my SO's mother wanted the recipe, it's this week's end-of-the-week recipe blogging post.

Even if you think you hate Brussels sprouts, you should try this recipe - you (and your mother) might be pleasantly surprised.

2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons butter, melted
7/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup finely grated Dubliner Irish cheese (the original recipe calls for Gruyere)
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

0. Preheat the oven to 425F.
1. Wash the Brussels sprouts, peel off any damaged outer leaves, and trim the stem end.
2. Slice the Brussels sprouts in half, and place in a glass or ceramic baking dish that is large enough to hold them in a single layer (a 9x13" standard cake pan should work).
3. Spread 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, a moderate sprinkling of ground black pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter over the Brussels sprouts, and mix well.
4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (or until the Brussels sprouts are tender and starting to brown), stirring twice.
5. Meanwhile, mix the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and cheese in a small bowl, and set aside.
6. When the Brussels sprouts are tender, pour the cream over them and bake for another 5-7 minutes ("until the cream has thickened to a saucy consistency and coats the sprouts").
7. Remove the dish from the oven, and turn on the broiler.
8. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the Brussels sprouts.
9. Broil (~6" below the heat source) until the top begins to brown, ~1-2 minutes.
10. Serve hot.

Keep a close eye on the dish as it broils in step nine - it can go from nicely browned to burned in only a few seconds. If you don't have Dubliner Irish or Gruyere cheese on hand, try some other cheese that you like (Emmentaler or a sharp cheddar would probably both work well).


Katz, Eva. 2004. Fall's Overlooked Vegetables. Fine Cooking 67: 44-49.

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