Can you believe it’s already the last day of March? What better day to share a final post on another of my favorite green veggies! (Not that we won’t still enjoy our greens throughout the rest of the year!)
Brussels sprouts are cute little mini cabbage kinda things that get a bad rap in the home cook’s veggie world. I think it’s because most often they’re boiled, which just makes them mushy. No thanks. But they’re soooo good for you, I didn’t want to give up. So I tried pan searing them instead. That’s when I fell in love! So. Much. Better. I’ve since cooked Brussels sprouts for family and friends who were skeptics and they all raved. Even my 8-year-old loves them, and that’s really saying something!
Pan Seared Brussels Sprouts
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt/pepper/onion & garlic powders, to taste
Add your olive oil and seasonings to your pan, coating entire bottom of pan. Cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts, then half the sprouts length-wise. Place them flat side down into pan. (Some of the leaves will come off — just throw them in the pan, too.) Sauté on medium-high until the bottom gets a nice sear on them, then add water – enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, adding more water if necessary, until the sprouts are tender.
Serves 4 people
Brussels Au Gratin
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, prepared as directed above
Once your Brussels sprouts are done, place them in a baking dish just large enough to spread them evenly across the bottom. Spoon enough cheese sauce over them so that each one is coated and there is some covering the bottom of the baking dish. Top with the au gratin topping and broil on low until golden brown.
for Smoked Paprika Cheese Sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, give or take
- 2 cups milk, give or take
- 1-2 tablespoons smoked paprika, to taste
- salt & pepper, to taste
Notice the “give or take” and “to taste” references. I find making any sauce is not an exact science. It’s more a matter of finding the perfect flavor and consistency for what you plan to do with it. For a cheese sauce, it also depends on the kind of cheese you use. Parmesan is less creamy and has a stronger flavor, so you’ve got to find what works for you. Parm also melts more slowly, so take your time adding it in. If you add too much or turn the heat up too high in a rush to melt the cheese, you risk singeing or having your sauce separate.
Once I get my flour and butter whisked together, I start slowly adding in the milk and cheese until it looks the way I want it. It should be thick enough to coat your fingertip without being stringy from the cheese or so loose it runs down your finger.
Add as much or as little of the smoked paprika along the way or at the end until it tastes like you want it to taste. It always surprises me how much smoked paprika I end up using. As potent as it seems, it easily gets lost if you don’t add enough. I recommend going until you think it tastes great, then adding just a little more.
It takes just as much time and effort to make a little cheese sauce as it does to make a lot, plus I think making too little is actually trickier because you start with such a small amount of roux. So add a lot or a little of this sauce to your final product, and save any leftovers for another night. It would be great on chicken or pork, mixed in rice or quinoa, added to eggs or sautéed veggies, etc.
for Au Gratin Topping
- ½ stick butter, melted
- 1 cups Panko
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
Combine all ingredients and mix until even coated with butter.
Focusing on all these green veggies has been so much fun! I feel like we did them proud. 💚
Looking forward to some amazing April recipes next month!