Thursday, January 17, 2013

Skinny Brussell Sprouts!

Mis en place

I love brussells sprouts but they tend to be the also-ran of the culinary world.  It may be because they're often boiled and can come out as a mushy, unappetizing mess.  That's a shame because not only are they delicious when prepared correctly - but they have strong anti-cancer properties that are lessened when they are boiled.  Research shows that grilling and roasting do not diminish their anti-cancer compounds.
Before becoming an avid tabletop griller, I roasted my Brussell sprouts, which is a great way to go, too.  This recipe does a bit of both.  If you don't have a grill (I've been using the George Foreman grill) you can use a cast iron skillet that has the lines so you get grill marks.  But if you're a serious home cook you should definitely buy an electric grill.  I may trade up to a better brand at some point, but at this point my George Foreman gets the job done.  And I bought it for $50!

Transfer from grill to oven-safe skillet
I start by cutting the Brussell sprouts in half. Baby Brussell sprouts do not work well with this recipe. You want the larger, meaty sprouts. Not only do they cook faster when you cut them in half, they don't roll around the grill.  I only grill them long enough to get the char marks on both sides.  Next, I transfer them to an oven-safe skillet and place them in a 250 degree oven.  If I want to serve them in short order, I'd put them in a 350 - 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

Chopped cherry tomatoes and garlic for a topping
I like the slow method.  When I get home from work I like to get everything underway for dinner and then relax before dining.  The Brussell sprouts can stay in the oven at this low temperature for a half hour to 45 minutes.  This way, I can unwind and snap dinner up in minutes when I'm ready to eat.  It also frees up the grill so I can cook the rest of dinner on my single grill.  When I'm about 15 minutes or so from eating I grill chopped cherry tomatoes and garlic until they start to brown.  Then I put the mixture on top of the Brussell sprouts and return the skillet to the low heat oven.  I grill a lemon and toss that in the pan.  It looks good an infuses its lemony goodness into the dish.
My main course is usually fish or chicken breast which cook up quickly, so that element goes on the grill 5 or 10 minute prior to serving. 

And I call myself the Skinny Gourmet Guy?!
The meal pictured above was my New Year's dinner.  I ended the year with a bang by tossing aside the Skinny Gourmet Guy rulebook and grilling a ribeye steak.  However, I always say it's important to splurge and this fat, juicy steak was worth the extra miles logged in spin class to burn it off.  The Brussell sprouts with tomato and garlic side went very well with it.  But whether it be steak or chicken or fish, this Brussell sprouts recipe elevates the also ran to the star attraction!
1/2 cup Brussells sprouts cut in half length-wise
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half lenght-wise
3 - 4 garlic cloves smashed an thickly diced
1 tbspn canola or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste
Pre-heat electric grill at 400 degrees, or warm cast iron skillet over medium heat.
Toss the Brussell sprouts in oil and add salt & pepper.
Put on grill or pan, cut side down.
Wait until they start to char (about 1 - 2 minutes depending upon size) and flip over and develop char on the other side of the sprouts.  I don't close the grill top.
Transfer to oven-safe skillet and bake in oven at 250 degrees. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes.
15 minutes prior to serving, grill the tomatoes.  After a minute or so add the garlic.  Grill for approximately 2 - 3 minutes.  I do close the grill top for this.
Add to Brussell sprouts and return to oven.
Grill lemon until it develops a char; add to Brussells sprouts, tomatoes and garlic.
Bake for anther 15 minutes or so.
You may want to pick out the garlic bits from the mixture, though I just serve the whole thing and avoid eating the garlic.
Serve and enjoy!

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