I grew up a full-fledged carnivore, and, as a kid, I successfully avoided most vegetables. It helped that my parents weren’t the sort who made me sit at the dining room table until I finished everything on my plate. If they were, chances are that I’d still be sitting there! Haha! One vegetable I especially disliked was Brussels sprouts. The only time I tried them they were mushy, bitter and had a weird smell. Yuck!!
Well, my opinion changed when I tried the Roasted Brussels Sprouts at MB Post, a restaurant in Manhattan Beach, California. The restaurant serves them perfectly charred and accompanied by Emmenthal cheese, toasted hazelnuts, and sage. Since then, I have been a huge fan and I have wanted to make them at home. Thanks to Los Angeles Magazine, I have the actual recipe from MB Post, straight from the restaurant’s owner and chef, David Lefevre.
For my version of these roasted beauties, I added crispy shitake mushrooms and a Balsamic and Port Syrup. The mushrooms added a hearty earthiness to the dish and the syrup a sweet, slightly tangy contrast.
Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Shiitake Mushrooms
Yields 4 to 6 servings
10 ounces shiitake mushrooms
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces clarified butter
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, scored on the base and cut in half
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Emmenthal cheese
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and halved
16 sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, for garnish
For the Balsamic and Port Reduction
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup tawny port
Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with silicone mat (Silpat) or parchment paper.
Wipe shiitake mushroom caps with damp paper towel and remove stems. Mushrooms may be left whole or cut into strips. Place mushrooms (gill-side up if leaving whole), on the prepared baking sheet and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place in the oven and roast until mushrooms are thin and crispy, about 15 minutes for strips, about 20 to 25 minutes for whole mushrooms. Mushrooms are best served immediately as it will lose its crispness as it sits, but not its wonderful flavor.
Cook Brussels sprouts in two batches. In a large sauté pan, cook half of the clarified butter over medium heat, until browned. Add one pound (half) of the Brussels sprouts, cut side down and cook until they are golden brown and caramelized. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and transfer to a baking dish. Repeat cooking process with the remaining Brussels sprouts. Place the baking dish with all of the caramelized Brussels sprouts in the oven and roast until completely cooked through.
While Brussels sprouts are roasting, combine the balsamic vinegar and port in a small heavy saucepan and cook over high heat until mixture becomes syrupy and bubbles begin to form, about 7 to 8 minutes. Do not reduce too much or it will burn and become stringy. Cool the syrup, transfer to a covered container, and keep refrigerated until ready to use. It will thicken a bit more as it chills. The syrup may be kept covered and refrigerated for up to one month.
Once the Brussels sprouts are tender and cooked through, remove from oven and sprinkle the Emmenthal cheese, hazelnuts and sage. Just before serving, drizzle the Port and Balsamic Syrup and add crispy mushrooms.
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