Blistered Crunchy Brussels Sprouts for Thanksgiving.

It was 9:30 in the evening. The dinner dishes had been put away and the kitchen was spotless. But instead of sitting on the couch with a glass of wine and a periodical, I was sitting at our dinner table with a large mound of brussels sprouts. I was carefully pulling the leaves off the little sprout, piece by piece. When I had gotten down to the petite little choux or head, I used my paring knife to lop off the stem. I did this for the 2 pounds of brussels sprouts and it took me about half an hour or so. The result was a sheet pan of beautiful green brussels sprout leaves and a small bowl of the little ‘heads’. Why this madness you ask? I came upon this idea for a new way to prepare brussels sprouts- I wanted to cook them under the broiler until they became blistered and crunchy. Crunchy is my favorite texture and I thought that brussels sprouts would taste great this way. I don’t know where I got this idea..I’ve been reading so many food related things lately, magazines, journals, blogs, cookbooks, even my old notebooks from my restaurant days. Perhaps it was osmosis or a dream.

The next day, I washed the loose pile of leaves, dried them really well and tossed it in a bowl with olive oil. I scattered the leaves on a sheet pan and sprinkled the leaves with salt. I slid the tray into the oven with the broiler on ‘low’. Then I waited. I used my nose and sniffed. A nutty, smoky vegetal smell hit the air. I opened the oven and peeked inside. The brussels sprout leaves were scorched and spotted, I shook the pan and closed the door. I waited again. After about 30 seconds or so, I took the tray out of the oven and the vegetables looked like this

I tasted a little blistered leaf and it was as I imagined- crunchy, smoky, sweet and toothy all at once. I loved it and knew this was a candidate for Thanksgiving dinner. I added a few generous spoonfuls of caramelized onion marmalade I had in the refrigerator and tossed the leaves to coat it with the onions. I tasted a forkful. It was simple and delicous- crunchy, smoky, toothy brussels with the sweet, tart onions. This was a winner for the holiday table. Or maybe as long as brussels sprouts are around.

Note- If you have the time and energy, I’d recommend stripping the leaves off the brussels sprout. The texture is amazing. However, I also think you can simply halve or at best, quarter the sprout and proceed with the technique above. If you don’t have a broiler, you can simply roast the sprouts at 450 degrees F.

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