I’ve gone on and on in the past about Brussels sprouts and how sad it makes me that some folks have been turned off to them by cruel and unusual cooking – that boiled or (even worse) canned variety that was often seen in the wild. I’ve also been going on and on on Twitter about this most recent Brussels sprout recipe that trumps all others, promising to quickly post it to the blog. That didn’t happen…and I have to talk to you about why.
After a year or so of bandying around the notion of getting a dog, we finally brought home a little meatball. Having an idea in mind of the kind of dog we (mostly me – Mike was more open minded – but still) wanted, Mike and I held out and kept our eyes peeled at our favorite rescue – we just couldn’t fathom the notion of paying a breeder for a dog when so many wonderful animals need homes. Our patience paid off…and two weeks ago…we brought Mingus home. He’s a wonderful pup – full of personality and sweetness with the typical pug stubborn streak. He’s got the most worrisome expression and back fat chub…which makes him perfect. We’ve been adjusting to new puppy parenthood and, well, it’s been a balancing act for sure. Some things just don’t get done.
So rather than sitting down at the computer and talking about these Brussels sprouts and how I totally thought I came up with the idea of marrying fish sauce and sprouts together before David Chang did (not really – i just had no idea!), I’m showing off our new addition in a rare quiet moment as he snores in his bed at my feet. These are the best Brussels sprouts I’ve ever made…and I’ve made them four times already. Paired with the earthy nutty quinoa that’s jazzed up with a bit of sesame, it’s a knockout.
The added bonus – this recipe comes together super fast and is something you can pop in the oven and let be. It cooks on its own as you stand outside discouraging chewing on patio furniture…or putting the bathroom rug back in place after it’s been toted around the house…or looking at leaves pretending not to obsess about just how darned cute your dog is. The whole thing happens in about 20 minutes and makes a hearty veggie bowl dinner or side dish.
A note about fish sauce: It’s gamey. It’s salty. I’ve gotten some feedback that the salt is overpowering at 1/3 of a cup. Please taste the particular brand of fish sauce you’re using and adjust the amount you use accordingly. It’s the only salt in the recipe so the amount was just fine for me – for other palates, it might be too much. I’ve adjusted the recipe to note 1/4-1/3 of a cup depending on your taste.
Fish Sauce Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sesame Quinoa – serves 2 as a vegetarian entree or 4 as a side dish
For the Brussels sprouts: Preheat oven to 400F. In a large shallow roasting pan, toss the cut-up sprouts with the canola oil and fish sauce. Mix thoroughly to combine. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 minutes or until the cut sides start to brown and the leaves begin to char. Remove from oven and cover lightly with foil until ready to serve – if you’re making this alongside the quinoa, they’ll finish cooking at around the same time.
For the quinoa: At the same time you preheat the oven, bring the vegetable stock or water – with the chili flakes added to it – to a boil in a saucepan with a lid. Once the liquid has come to a boil, pour in the quinoa. Stir and allow the mixture to come back up to a bubble. Turn heat down to low, cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and stir in the soy sauce and the sesame seeds.
To serve: plate a large spoonful of quinoa and top with the roasted Brussels sprouts. If you’d like, you can garnish with some chopped cilantro or a dash of rice wine vinegar. For some heat, drizzle on a bit of Sriracha. Serve immediately.