Out-of-season vegetables like tomatoes or eggplant have no place at the table, but winter greens are its saving grace. The combination of citrus and cruciferous in this recipe makes it essential; it’s also a pain-free way to cook a whole lot of Brussels sprouts, as long as you have a food processor. But it doesn’t matter if you land on Brussels sprouts, broccoli or (most radical) a salad – anything with a hint of citrus, a stab of spice, a blast of ginger will get the job done.
Oven-roasting without dryness
Almost any vegetable, properly oven-roasted, makes a good side dish. Brussels sprouts, cabbage leaves, diced fennel or turnips or parsnips or squash: All will work. There’s no need to parcook them; just slick with olive oil on a sheet pan and bake until tender in a 375-degree oven with a pan of water placed on the oven floor. The steam from the water ensures that the vegetables won’t dry out and become leathery before they cook through.
Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 to 3 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds, cumin seeds or poppy seeds
¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste
Place lemon juice into a large bowl. Cut bottoms off sprouts and discard. Working in batches, use a food processor fitted with the slicing blade to cut sprouts into thin slices. (If cutting by hand, halve sprouts lengthwise and thinly slice them crosswise. The slices toward the stem end should be thinner, to help pieces cook evenly.) As you work, transfer slices into bowl with lemon juice. When all sprouts are sliced, toss them in juice and use your fingers to separate leaves. (Recipe can be prepared to this point and refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 hours.)
When ready to serve, heat oil and butter over high heat in a skillet large enough to hold all sprouts. When very hot, add sprouts, garlic and seeds, and cook, stirring often, until sprouts are wilted and lightly cooked but still bright green and crisp, about 4 minutes. Some leaves may brown slightly.
Add wine and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Turn off heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and more lemon juice if desired. Stir in the lemon zest, reserving a little for top of dish. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with remaining zest and serve.
Makes 8 to 12 servings.
– Adapted from “The Union Square Cafe Cookbook,” by Michael Romano and Danny Meyer.