Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Pecorino

Sprouts copy

I first began cooking with Brussels sprouts a few years ago.  Since that time, no holiday meal seems complete without a side of these whimsical, miniature cabbages.  I grew up thinking there was good reason to dislike Brussels sprouts, without ever having the occasion to try them.  As far as I can tell, these childhood rumors were entirely unfounded.  Perhaps this recipe will coax a new sprouts eater out from your Thanksgiving table.

When selecting Brussels sprouts, choose the smallest, firmest, and brightest.  The trick is to cook them just enough.  Overcooking can cause sulfur compounds to be released from the vegetables, creating an unappealing odor.  Cooking the Brussels sprouts until just tender will give them a delicious, nutty flavor.

Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Pecorino

Ingredients

1/2 C pecan halves, roughly chopped
1/2 Tbl butter
2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 C Pecorino cheese, freshly grated

Method

Prepare Brussels sprouts by rinsing under cold water.  Cut off the base and remove any leaves that come away during the process. Cut each lengthwise. (For fussy eaters, it may be best to shred the Brussels sprouts in a food processor.) Toss into a large bowl and coat with 1 Tbl of the olive oil.

In a frying pan, heat the pecans over medium heat until fragrant and a few shades darker.  Add 1/2 Tbl of butter and a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Set aside.

In a large frying pan, over low-medium heat, place the Brussels sprouts in a single layer, along with a pinch of salt, cut side down.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes (until slightly browned and tender). If there isn't enough room, work in batches. 

Raise the heat to medium-high and combine the Brussels sprouts, the remaining olive oil, garlic and some salt and pepper.  Toss around until the sprouts caramelize and the garlic is fragrant. Add the pecans and salt and pepper to taste.  Move to a serving dish and toss with the grated cheese.  Serve warm.

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