Brussels with chile and preserved lemon
Brussels sprouts have made a comeback the past few years thanks to every chef loading them up with bacon. It works, but here’s something different. A new look for them that brightens them right up. This is a killer recipe for a side dish served family style though I have to confess something. After eating Brussels for three straight months, I am so fuckin’ over them. Indeed this is the only downfall to seasonal, market driven cooking but soon there will be asparagus and favas to save the day. But honestly everyone who eats them can’t get enough. The key here is the balance of different flavors and textures. First and foremost, you’ll need to get a pan ripping hot ’cause you always need to put a hard sear on the cut side of the Brussels. This browning is crucial for flavor but also for some additional texture. Red Fresno chiles are similar to jalapenos heat wise and if you can not find them, just substitute jalapenos. I like to use the seeds in this dish to add a spicy element. Do you know what preserved lemon is? If not, I just made your life better. You can thank me later. This is one of the most amazing ingredients to keep in your larder and they’re super easy to make. TWO ingredients: salt and lemons; you can handle that…Basically you are brining a lemon to create the most aromatic, bright, funky and beautiful lemon flavor that will make nearly any dish better. Then we’ll finish the dish with mint, toasted walnuts, some olive oil and fresh lemon juice. You won’t even miss the bacon, especially if you are a vegetarian.
6 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup Red Fresno chili, cut into thin rounds and seeds optional
½ cup shallots, finely diced
2 tablespoons preserved lemon, finely diced
¼ cup plus two tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
½ cup mint, finely chopped
Juice of one lemon
Heat a small sauté pan and add one-quarter cup olive oil. Add the shallots, chili and preserved lemon and cook over medium heat until soft. Set aside. Heat a large saute pan until smoking and add the canola oil. Add the Brussels, cut side down and sear until deeply browned. Add a bit of water to create some steam and cook until tender. Fold the chili mixture into the Brussels and add the mint and walnuts. Dress with olive oil and fresh lemon juice and season to taste with salt.