A few weeks ago, my sister sent me a (late-night) text message asking me to come up with a recipe for crispy honey or teriyaki Brussels sprouts. Happily, about a week before that, I’d had dinner with a friend at a restaurant downtown which had crispy sprouts on its menu. They paired theirs with a savory, bleu-cheesy sauce that was actually quite good, but what I really learned from them was how to make Brussels sprouts crispy. When my order arrived, the Brussels sprouts were tiny, tender, and perfectly cooked, but these little cores came surrounding in a bowl of their own leaves, oven-roasted and crisped to a deep, delicate brown. Peeling the individual leaves off the Brussels sprouts and roasting them with their inner cores seems to be the trick to adding a little bit of crunchiness. I think this is the thing my sister’s hankering for, so I hope it works.
Happily, this month’s Recipe Redux theme was coming up with a recipe using either honey or molasses. It’s a lucky thing, too, because it took me kind of awhile to hit the right combination of ingredients on this one. My first trial was a combination of honey and balsamic vinegar, making a glaze that was way to sweet (although I think if you went with a straight balsamic glaze, it’d be a winner). Using just honey wasn’t going to work, but pairing honey with a not-too-sweet white wine reduction turned out perfect. We had buckwheat honey in our cupboard, and I thought a nice earthy sauvignon blanc would be a good fit, though a pinot grigio would also work. A chardonnay, which I find usually has a little more oomph, would pair nicely with regular honey.
Crispy honey & wine roasted Brussels sprouts
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 Tablespoons of buckwheat honey
1) Preheat the oven to 450-degrees. Cut off the woody stem off the bottom of each Brussels sprout. Peel the individual leaves off the core of the sprout (they should come off fairly easily), cutting off more woody stem as it is revealed. Separate the leaves and the core in two colanders, then wash thoroughly.
2) Spread the Brussels sprout cores in a rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and lightly salt. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice with a wooden spoon to ensure they don’t burn.
3) Meanwhile, simmer the white wine in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Reduce until the wine it measures about 1/4 cup.
4) Toss the washed sprout leaves with the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Add the leaves to the rimmed baking sheet and return to the oven. Continue to roast for another 15 minutes. Check every 5 minutes and stir. The Brussels sprouts are done when the cores are tender but the leaves have browned and crisped. Remove from the oven and set aside.
5) Add the honey to the simmering wine reduction. Then stir in the Brussels sprouts to coat evenly. Serve immediately.