Thursday, January 17, 2013

Roasted Brussel Sprouts a la David Chang

I remember hearing about David Chang's Brussel Sprouts on an episode of No Reservations...
The heralded chef of Momofuku fame took the sprouts of the menu because....they became too popular. I'll try not to butcher this, but it was something along the lines of not wanting his creativity to be driven by what the masses wanted, but rather his passion to cook, create and be creative. Which is kind of awesome...and probably only something you can do if you're David Chang.

Well if you're like me and didn't get to try them before they were pulled from the menu, the chef was kind and generous to share the recipe with the world.

I merged two recipes that I found (here and here), and the results were pure 'delciousness' as D. Chang would say. The key is to get a good char on the outside leaves, leaving them crispy and a dark brown or black color. I prefer to cook them on the stove top, but they can also be done in the oven. (Both methods are below). And if you've never cooked with fish sauce, take heed: keep your nose out of the fish sauce bottle.

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

To make the dressing, combine the ingredients below till sugar is dissolved:
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce (preferably Tiparos brand)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1 1/2-inch) fresh red or green Thai chile, thinly sliced crosswise, including seeds
Juice of 1 lime

To make the puffed rice topping:
1/2 cup crisp rice cereal (e.g.: Rice Krispies)
1/4 teaspoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice blend, available at Asian markets)

Garnish: cilantro sprigs; torn mint leaves; chopped scallions

1) Heat 5-6 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Get the pan to be super crazy hot and almost smoking, then cook the brussel sprouts, cut side down (careful for splatter!). Turn the heat to medium and sear till browned, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the brussel sprouts over and cook for another 3-5 minutes, till the outsides are nice and crisp. 

For oven cooking, preheat to 450°F with rack in upper third.
Toss Brussels sprouts with oil, then arrange, cut sides down, in a 17- by 12-inch shallow baking pan. Roast, without turning, until outer leaves are tender and very dark brown, about 40 to 45 minutes. (Check midway that the bottoms are not burning). Add butter and toss to coat.

2) Make the topping by cooking the cereal, oil and shichimi togarashi in a small skillet over medium heat, until rice is coated and begins to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent cereal from burning. Transfer topping to a bowl and let cool. 

3) To plate, place sprouts in a serving bowl, then toss with just enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with puffed rice. Garnish and serve the remaining dressing on the side.

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