Charred Brussels Sprouts with Lemon & Parmesan
Brussels sprouts are one of those things that most people either hate or tolerate. They’re a staple side dish at many North American Christmas dinners and they’re typically boiled and bland and, quite frankly, pretty boring. I tolerated Brussels sprouts when I was growing up. I tend to like brassicas (broccoli has always been my favourite vegetable), so I never really disliked Brussels sprouts, but they were always just so lifeless and uninspired. Because let’s face it, boiled vegetables aren’t exactly the most exciting foods on Earth, let alone boiled Brussels sprouts, which some people tend to have a natural aversion to anyway.
And yet, many people still serve the same ol’ BORING boiled Brussels sprouts at holiday dinners year after year. Why? Why do we get so hung up on this idea that food has to be prepared a certain way and close ourselves off to trying new things? (My mother is this person. She gets her mind set that a meal or dish has to be prepared a certain way and that’s the only way she’ll ever cook or eat it. For the record, she loves boiled carrots and hates Brussels sprouts, but still believes they should be boiled).
Breathe new life into uninspiring vegetables
Luckily there are some more adventurous cooks out there who who aren’t afraid to breathe new life into age-old dishes, and this recipe for charred Brussels sprouts came from one such person who decided to try something new. So whoever that person is, thank you!
I was personally inspired to try this dish after ordering it off the menu in some swanky downtown restaurant when I lived in the city a few years ago. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised to see Brussels sprouts on the menu at all. But charred Brussels sprouts were the new hip food at the time, so they were making an appearance on lots of menus in the trendier parts of town. I loved them so much I decided to try them at our next holiday dinner, and while I must admit our other signature holiday dish (scalloped sweet potatoes with sage cream sauce) ALWAYS steals the spotlight, these charred Brussels sprouts were a huge crowd pleaser and soon our other family members started cooking them the same way. (Not my mother. She still believes they should be boiled but won’t touch them either way).
A new twist on good ol’ Brussels sprouts
These Brussels sprouts have become a staple side dish during the holidays, and I’ve even started cooking them on weeknights because they’re so quick and easy and delicious, and they’re healthy to boot! So whether you’re looking to change things up a bit for your next holiday dinner, you got an abundance of Brussels sprouts from your garden this year, or you’re just looking for a quick and easy vegetable side dish to serve on any ol’ night, this is a dish you’ll want to keep in your arsenal.
They’re an especially good go-to in the winter when it can be hard to eat fresh veggies since nothing is in season. Unless, of course, you’re one of those people who simply hate Brussels sprouts. But you wouldn’t be here if you did, right? Hi mom!
Charred Brussels Sprouts with Lemon & Parmesan
This recipe is stupidly easy. Like, so easy that I hesitate to call it a “recipe” at all. Really all you need are Brussels sprouts, a little olive oil, lemon juice and salt, and some shaved parmesan and black pepper to finish. Oh, and a cast iron pan. To get the blackened, charred results, I find it best to use cast iron. However you could use stainless steel too or some type of griddle. You can also roast them in the oven if you like. But I always do the in cast iron and that’s how I like ‘em best 🙂 You’ll need:
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- olive oil (a few tablespoons to add to the pan as they cook)
- a pinch of salt
- shaved or grated parmesan (asiago cheese works too)
Wash and prepare your Brussels sprouts. Trim the stalk ends off and remove any damaged or wilted outer leaves. Cut Brussels sprouts in half and set aside. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to your pan and turn the heat on to medium high. Once pan is hot, add Brussels sprouts and sauté them in the oil for a minute or so until they’re all spread out and cooking in a single layer (more-or-less). Let them cook for a minute or two, stirring occasionally. You don’t want to stir constantly because you want them to have contact with the pan long enough to start blackening. Add a pinch of salt and two tablespoons of lemon juice (give or take), and stir everything together. Add a little more olive oil if needed. Let them cook for another 6-8 minutes, until they’re cooked through and blackened to your liking. Transfer to a serving bowl and toss with shaved parmesan (or asiago) cheese. Serve hot with turkey dinner, Sunday roast or even as the main dish on a meatless Monday. Because you only live once 😉
Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂
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