Thursday, February 18, 2010

Killer Brussels Sprouts (really!)

B-sprouts are one of my go-to veggies, and not only because of their healthy profile but also because with the right preparation, they taste great.
For a complete nutritional breakdown detailing the vitamins, antioxidants and dietary fiber that these veggies bring to your table, go here.

You can get Brussels sprouts year-round but they're actually best in fall, winter and early spring -- their peak growing season.

The easiest prep is to trim off the stem ends, slice them in half (or thirds if they are larger than a walnut) and steam until tender. Then toss with a low-fat sauce or dressing of your choice.

The recipe below takes these babies to another level by steaming first and then caramelizing in a frying pan on high heat (top photo) before adding a little pesto (finished product, bottom photo).

Serve as a side dish with fish, poultry or a vegetarian entree.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pesto
Makes 4 servings

3 cups fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced lengthwise in half
1-2 T olive oil
2-3 T prepared pesto sauce

Place sprouts in a steamer and set in a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water, sprinkle with salt and cover the pan. Bring water to a boil, then reduce to low heat and steam until sprouts are just becoming tender. It will take about 4-5 minutes depending on the size of the slices. Test with the point of a knife; when the center of one of the sprouts yields to the knife, they are ready. Be careful not to overcook -- sprouts should still be a bright green color.
Immediately rise the sprouts in cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat; add the oil.
Place the sprouts in the pan and cook without stirring for 1-2 minutes, allowing one side of the sprout to turn a golden brown. Turn sprouts with tongs and brown the other side.
Remove from heat and toss with the pesto sauce.

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