These days I can’t seem to get enough of foods which would have made my child-size self wrinkle her nose.
I guess I’m making up for lost time.
The first time I ate Brussels sprouts was at Butter in New York. They were fried and piled high on a creamy spread of Ricotta on crunchy slices of baguette.
Sure, frying anything will make you love it. The true test of devotion came when I decided to start roasting my own sprouts.*
*But, let’s be real, I definitely started by recreating Butter’s recipe at home. I mean, it was only right.
Ever since, Brussels sprouts have become a loved veggie in my home. I’ve learned this is a vegetable requiring plenty of time in order to earn the best bite possible.*
*Unless, of course, you’re deep frying them.
Brussels sprouts catch my eye anytime they’re on a menu, as do most foods I love. When they were found under the appetizer section in an itsy, bitsy French restaurant in NYC, I knew we needed to order them. The addition of strawberries and balsamic intrigued me; and after one bite, I knew this was something I needed to be able to make myself.
It’s so ridiculously easy and the result is a fireworks show of flavor one wouldn’t believe six basic ingredients could create.
We start with roasting the mighty sprout. Which, by the way, is pretty wonderful in itself.
Drizzle the sprouts generously with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
How many of you love fancy sounding culinary terms like balsamic reduction?
In the culinary world, this is a basic term for reducing a liquid down, but in the typical American home, such a term causes fits of confusion.
It’s ridiculously easy and all you have to do is use your eyes.
Pay close attention to the level of the balsamic in the measuring glass, it’s about to change drastically!
Bring half a cup of balsamic vinegar to a boil. Simmer for ten minutes, until the liquid reduces by half.
Have no fear, you aren’t going to pop a measuring stick in to figure out if your vinegar has reduced enough. All you’re going to do is pay close attention to the consistency of the liquid and simple tell tale signs. You’re looking to see if the liquid has thickened.
One easy way to tell is to use a spoon and see if the liquid sticks to the back of it. This is often done when waiting for milk to thicken. My trick here is to tilt the pot and watch the liquid run at the bottom. If it moves in quick streaks, it isn’t quite ready.
This is getting there, but still a little too thin.
Oh look! It’s me!
And, voilà! Balsamic reduction!
Now for the fun part…
After the sprouts start looking a little browned, remove them from the oven.
Resist the urge to pick at all the loose, crisped leaves.
Yum. Yum. Yum!
Add the strawberries to the pan, then drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Place the pan back in the oven for another five minutes.
It’s a thing of beauty. A simple, wonderful thing of beauty.
Strawberry Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
- 2 lb Brussels sprouts, hulled and halved
- 1/2 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350º as you prep sprouts and strawberries. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Spread Brussels sprouts out on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes.
- While the sprouts roast, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Simmer about 10 minutes or until reduced by half.
- When sprouts are done, add strawberries to the pan, drizzle with the vinegar, and roast 5 more minutes.
- Toss it all together and serve!
Note: If sprouts are exceptionally large, cut into quarters. Make sure to include any loose leaves!