Sunday, July 25, 2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberry Pistachio Pesto

Brussels sprouts? Uhhhhh...

Yup, I decided to try something with Brussels sprouts. I found this recipe on the Steamy Kitchen's blog. It's apparently made by Chef Todd at Checkers Restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles. Since I'd never really tried Brussels sprouts before I figured I'd give it a shot. (OK, I had a taste of one of my roommate's forays into the Brussels sprout arena and it was pretty good.) But I definitely hadn't made them before.

Add in the cranberry pistachio pesto recipe and, why yes, I'll take a serving or two. Finally, finally, finally, last weekend I got around to some much-needed taste-testing of this concoction. The verdict? Well, let me give you the recipe first...

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cranberry Pistachio Pesto (see below)
1) Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

2) Cut off the stem end of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any loose or bruised outer leaves.

3) Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, lengthwise.

4) Toss with olive oil.
5) On a baking sheet, spread the Brussels sprouts evenly and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6) Roast for 25 minutes or until you begin to see a bit of browning on the Brussels sprouts. The interior should be fork tender.

Cranberry Pistachio Pesto
slightly adapted from Chef Todd's recipe
  • 1 cup pistachios
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cups olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1) Place the pistachios, cranberries, and garlic into a food processor and process until very finely chopped.

2) While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

3) Spoon out the pesto into a bowl and stir in remaining olive oil.

4) Season with salt and black pepper to taste. The pesto will be sweet and salty.
5) Spoon over the Brussels sprouts. (You will have leftover pesto.)
First of all, let me talk about the Brussels sprouts. I'm really sad to say that I wasn't overwhelmed by them. I'm just not sure they're for me. Maybe I didn't roast them long enough? But no, my roommate really likes this dish. The sprouts reminded me of cabbage, which I do like. This is why I'm so confused as to why I'm not a fan. Although they were roasted, the sprouts still had crisp and tender leaves. And, not surprisingly, they tasted like cabbage as well. They were also very crunchy, which is probably due to the intact "core" of the sprouts. Perhaps this is what I have an aversion to...or maybe my palette is just not up to this yet. I'll have to try again in the future. I do want to like them more. [Sigh]

Let's move on to the pesto. Yum! I liked the pesto a lot more than the sprouts. When I was making it, I omitted the parsley because 1) I didn't have any parsley on hand and 2) I don't really like parsley anyway. I also didn't toast the pistachios or roast the garlic as the original recipe suggested. Why? Mostly because it was a lazy Saturday afternoon and the last thing I felt like doing was toasting pistachios and roasting garlic. Hey, you can make your own pesto any ways you like, but mine is going to be "no-fuss".

After I got to the last step of the original recipe, I realized that I may have put too much oil in the pesto. Yes, the original pesto called for 1/2 cup each of olive oil, cranberries, and pistachios, but after tasting it I thought the oil proportion was kind of excessive. So I processed another half cup each of cranberries and pistachios and added them to the mix. Much better in my opinion! You can try it both ways and see what tastes better to you. I really liked the salty-sweet combination of the cranberries and pistachios., which was much more pronounced when there was a higher cranberry/pistachio : oil ratio. The cranberries and pistachios also made the pesto a little chewy and a little crunchy at the same time. I like chewy and crunchy.

I have to say that I preferred the Brussels sprouts when they were drizzled with the cranberry pistachio pesto. I feel that it really dressed the sprouts well and gave them a "kicked-up" flavor. Keep in mind, these are just my opinions. Try this dish for yourself (especially if you love Brussels sprouts) and let me know how it goes!

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