I hated Brussels sprouts as a kid, as most kids do. I remember my mom making them on occasion, usually steamed with butter melted on them. She was the only one who ate them.
(Also, “Brussels sprouts??” I was under the impression until about 2 weeks ago that it was “Brussel sprouts.”)
Now that I am a so-called “adult,” I have only become slightly more receptive to these small green balls of vegetable. However, this recipe from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi has me almost craving them. The best part about it is the way they are fried: with lots of oil and salt, face down on hight heat for a couple of minutes. One side gets black and crispy, one side is still green.
Also, with the addition of tofu, this recipe makes a meal in one bowl!
Brussels Sprouts and Tofu
2 Tbs sweet chile sauce (the most common brand is Mae Ploy, we had a bottle in the fridge that was “borrowed” from our cafeteria back in college)
1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs toasted sesame oil (don’t skip this! It makes the dish)
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 Tbs maple syrup
5 oz firm tofu
1 lb Brussels sprouts
about 3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sliced green onions
1/2 small fresh red chile, deseeded and minced (we used a jalapeño, so it was green. Whoops.)
1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, halved or quarted
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)
Rice for serving
Find a medium bowl and in it, whisk together the sweet chile and soy sauces, 2 Tbs of the sesame oil, the vinegar and maple syrup. Cut the tofu into 3/8-inch-thick slices and then each slice into two squarish pieces. Stir the tofu into the marinade and set aside.
Trim the bottoms off the Brussels sprouts and cut each into three slices from the top down. Find a large frying pan, add 4 Tbs of canola oil, and heat up well. Throw in half the Brussels spouts, or less than depending on the size of your pan (when I did this the oil spit like crazy, so watch out!). You want most the sprouts in the pan to have at least one side touching the pan, so no sprouts are stacked on top of one another. Sprinkle some salt on them and cook on high heat for about 2 minutes. Don’t stir to much, but shake it around if necessary. You want the sprouts to be almost burnt on one side. Remove to a bowl and add the rest of the sprouts to the pan with more canola oil. Add more salt, and 2 minutes later, transfer the rest to the bowl as well.
Add 2 more Tbs of canola oil to the pan and sauté the green onions, minced chili, and mushrooms for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl that the sprouts are in.
Leave the pan on high heat and use tongs to lift half of the tofu pieces from the marinade to the pan (again, oil spits!) (don’t throw away marinade!). Space them apart and leave in one layer so that they can fry properly. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to the sprouts bowl and repeat with the rest of the tofu.
Remove the pan from the heat and return all the cooked ingredients from the spouts bowl back to the pan. Add the leftover tofu marinade and half of the cilantro leaves. Toss everything together, and let the pan cool down a bit. Then taste and add salt if needed. Stir in the remaining Tbs of sesame oil and serve warm, garnished with sesame seeds and/or the rest of the cilantro. Eat with rice or by itself.