Photography by Sam Armocido
Not only have Brussels sprouts become the trendiest member of the Brassica family, but they have been pigeonholed for caramelization. No one wants to hear about a Brussels sprout today unless it’s roasted, flash fried, or sautéed in bacon fat…
…sorry, the thought of caramelized Brussels sprouts with salty, sweet, fatty bacon is so mesmerizing, I forgot what I was saying. I may actually have forgotten my name.
But it gets me thinking, “How do the other Brussels sprouts feel?” Can I create an equally tempting, saliva-inducing dish with no caramelization what so ever? Some quick reading on other flavors with a strong affiliation for Brussels sprouts offers clear direction. Strong bleu cheese and sharp mustard pair with shallot and vinegar, all folded into farm-fresh butter. Melting over briefly boiled Brussels sprouts, the dish is as tempting as any caramelized concoction.
These sprouts may not displace their sugary cousins, but they will certainly earn equal billing.
Blue Cheese and Mustard Buttered Brussels Sprouts
Use any leftover bleu cheese, mustard butter for steaks, chicken, green beans, cauliflower, squash, crusty Sourdough bread…
- 1-1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
- 1/2 pound butter, softened
- 4 ounces sharp bleu cheese, softened
- 2 tbs grainy mustard
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 2 tbs minced parsley
- Cava Rosé vinegar or other red wine vinegar
*Sapore’s Cava Rosé won me over instantly this summer. It is refined, offering the depth and complexity of a high-quality red wine vinegar, but far less bold, a perfect match for summer vegetables and to add just the right bright, bite to this compound butter.
- Trim bases of Brussels sprouts, cut in half and remove any loose or discolored leaves.
- Bring a 4 quart pot of salted water to a boil.
- Blend together butter, bleu cheese, mustard, shallot and parsley using a spatula or food processor.
- Blend in 1/2 tsp Cava Rosé vinegar, a few drops at a time. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more vinegar as needed.
- Add Brussels sprouts to the boiling water. Cook until just crisp-tender. The core should still be very firm.
- Remove Brussels sprouts from water and toss with 3-4 tbs butter.
- Roll remaining butter in parchment or plastic wrap and freeze.
It’s 5pm, and today has been long. The last thing I want to do is go home and cook, at least, not until I’ve opened a bottle of wine, which usually leads to an hour of sitting on the couch followed by dialing for dinner. I’ve got a fridge filled with ripe tomatoes, sugary-sweet peaches, sockeye salmon and crisp green beans. Honestly, I would rather debate Miley’s new haircut (get over it!) than face another night of steamed veggies and baked fish.
I’ve just killed your buzz. Here you are thinking that I will arrive home with a basket of farm fresh produce on my arm to be lovingly prepared, while discussing the events of the day with my loving husband soothed by a soundtrack of jazz vocals. A long-stemmed glass of something fabulous in hand, we’ll sit down to a candlelit evening at the dining room table, cloth napkins draped over our laps.
For real?! I’ve got a full time job, I’m beat and I want cheap Chinese and glass of whatever I know I won’t really taste after the second glass anyway. Which is when I think about compound butter.
Rolled in my fridge is a pound of farm-fresh, Amish butter (yes, from Dan at Agora). The other night I softened it and folded in fresh cilantro, lime zest, cumin and scallions. In under 30 minutes this evening I can sear a salmon filet, dress a salad and steam those green beans. A thin slice of the cilantro-lime butter will melt over the cooked fish. I’ll toss another with the beans. Suddenly I face the prospect of a richly sauced, yet light, healthy dinner on the table.
Plus, it’s cheaper than eating out, so we can treat ourselves to a good bottle. Something bubbly.
Cilantro Lime Compound Butter
Slices of the compound butter can be spread on fresh corn-on-the -cob, grilled meats or hearty fish like tuna or salmon. Try tossing a tablespoon with steamed green beans or zucchini.
- 1/2 pound softened butter
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder or Spanish Paprika
- 1 tsp finely grated lime zest
- 1/4 tsp white balsamic vinegar*
- 2 scallions, whites plus 1 inch greens, finely minced
- 3 tbs finely chopped cilantro
*Or Champagne vinegar. I bought mine at Sapore.
- Soften the butter at room temperature and stir it briefly in a medium bowl until creamy.
- With a rubber spatula, fold in the dry spices and lime zest.
- Fold in the vinegar a few drops at a time.
- Fold in the scallions and cilantro.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Using a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap, roll the butter into a log and refrigerate until firm.