Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Candied Walnuts

I used to hate brussel sprouts until my uncle-in-law, John Lemek, made these for Thanksgiving one year. Shredded, quick-sauteed, and simply seasoned with sugar and cider vinegar, these brussel sprouts are bright and lively -- a far cry from the sulphuric boiled brussel sprouts I had had in the past. Best of all is the addition of crunchy and sweet candied nuts, which add texture and flavor.

I've lightened up John's version considerably, as his used almost a stick of butter if I recall correctly. Here I use a tbs. of oil and agave nectar to replace the sugar. Agave nectar is good for those who can't have white sugar due to dietary restrictions (agave nectar, which comes from a cactus, has a very low gycemic index and it's an all natural sweetener).

For the brussel sprouts, the seasoning is equal parts sugar and apple cider vinegar. If you decide you want more of that flavor in your brussel sprouts, just add more sugar and apple cider in equal parts. I usually start with 2 spoonfuls of each, but it's delicious with more too.

Candied Nuts
A handful of pecans or walnuts, chopped
Butter and/or oil
agave nectar (or sugar)
A package of brussel sprouts, rinsed and any wilted leaves pulled off and discarded
2 tbs. agave nectar of sugar
2 tbs. apple cider
Salt and pepper to taste

To make candied nuts, heat small skillet over medium heat until hot. Add nuts and stir around until you start smelling a nice toasted smell. Turn down heat and add a little butter or oil to coat the nuts. Sprinkle the nuts with sugar or agave nectar and keep stirring until the sugar dissolves and the nuts are coated with a glaze. Pour onto a plate and let cool.

Trim the bottoms off the brussel sprouts in cut in 1/2 through the core. Lay flat and slice the brussel sprouts very thinly, shredding them.

Heat a skillet large enough to accomodate the brussel sprouts over medium high heat. Add a tbs. of oil and then a little butter for flavor (or just use oil). Add the brussel sprouts and saute for a few minutes until the color turns a bright green and the sprouts start wilting. Add salt and pepper, and agave nectar/sugar and vinegar. Stir, taste, and adjust seasoning. When properly cooked, the brussel sprouts will be tender but not overly soft.

Turn off heat, mix in nuts, and serve.

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