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Charred Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts are a controversial vegetable. Not just the taste either, the name confuses the hell out of people. So let’s clear something up. It isn’t “brussel sprouts”. It isn’t “brussel’s sprouts”. They are “brussels sprouts”. They are named after the city of Brussels. At least that is what I read on the internets. The main objection people have to the taste is the bitterness. I personally don’t taste too much bitterness in them, but I’m not a supertaster either. Supertasters are particularly sensitive to bitter tastes, so sucks to be them, because brussels sprouts can be awesome.

Please ignore the leg of duck with port-wine-balsamic glaze, it doesn’t concern you

Brussels sprouts were first domesticated in Belgium around 500 years ago, and are descended from the family of wild cabbages found and eaten for thousands of years all around the Mediterranean.  They are close relatives of modern cabbage. Which probably explains why so many people hate one if they hate the other.

These haunt the dreams of many a child


My favorite way to make them is to char the hell out of them in a cast iron pan. It is unique, creates all sorts of strange and yummy tastes, looks exotic, is easy, fast, and will change the way you think of brussels sprouts. They don’t have to be boiled mush and smell like stinky socks.

Start with a very hot, but totally dry pan. Not a drop of oil.

Scorch their pretty little faces!

Once the sprouts are charred, add shallot that has been tossed with oil

Then add wine, broth, oyster sauce and herbs

Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm! Char!

Charred Brussels Sprouts

From my brain, inspired by Lois Blanford’s recipe

  1. 1 lb brussels sprouts
  2. 1 medium shallot, minced
  3. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  4. 1 cup chicken broth
  5. 1/2 cup white wine
  6. 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  7. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  8. 2 Tbsp butter
  9. salt and pepper to taste

Clean and halve all the sprouts. Heat a cast iron pan (a good stainless pan works too) until it is super hot. If it is cast iron, it will be smoking, and if stainless, a tiny drop of oil will immediately smoke vigorously. Arrange all the sprouts cut side down in the pan. There will be smoke. After a 1-3 minutes, depending on your tolerance for smoke and charcoal, they should be ready for the next step. Turn the heat to low, mix the olive oil with the shallot, then add to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, occasionally mixing and stirring. When the shallots are translucent, and just starting to brown, add a mixture made up of all the remaining ingredients, except the butter.  Turn the heat back to high. You are essentially steaming the sprouts, while simultaneously reducing the sauce. Remove from heat and stir in the butter once the  sauce is reduced to about 3-5 Tbsp, or the sprouts are just tender whichever comes first. It is more important not to overcook your sprouts than to fully reduce your sauce. Give them a quick toss to coat with sauce and serve.

This recipe made by and for tens.