This week my boyf, Dan, was on another four-day field trip. Last time I coped with really rich brownies. This time, for whatever reason, I used...brussels sprouts?? Who thought that a crucifer could give as much comfort and satisfaction as chocolate?
But whatever, they are so delicious roasted. Monday night I had them in a roasted veg medley (with potatoes, garlic and carrot, nosy!) with a honey mustard sauce. And it was good.
But Tuesday's cole crop special, which featured a balsamic reduction enriched with heavy cream and a crumble of Spanish bleu cheese, was even better. Nigh perfect, even. I hope I can recreate it now that Dan's back...he was really disappointed that we didn't get to cook the brussels before he left.
This would be a really great fall side dish, says I. Brussels sprouts are a brassica family vegetable, so they're never gonna get the spotlight at your dinner party--plus it kinda looks like camouflage (cute, baby cabbage-looking camouflage, but still). Even so, the taste is fantastic...sweet and a little tangy with an unusual sort of peppery flavor from the cheese.
(BTW does anyone know if this is a common feature of blue cheese? We got a wedge of Valdeon the other day and the spiciness is so prominent--I'd never noticed that before. Doing my research I've found that Cabrales is known for its spiciness, and Valdeon is supposed to be Cabrales' tamer cousin.)
Anyway so here's how it went down. First I did the roasting: spruced up and halved 8 sprouts or so (cooking for one, poor me). Threw them in a small roasting pan with a few cloves of garlic. Tossed with a spot of olive oil and a light grind of sea salt. Put 'em in a 200C oven until they started getting some really nice color on 'em. (Ah, just thinking about the gorgeous caramelization brussels are wont to do in the oven just makes me smile. ) I stirred once during the roasting so they'd get browner and more evenly so.
Once they were about done, I turned off the oven but left them in there while I reduced a little bit of balsamic (just enough to cover the bottom of a small pot--one person here!) with a dash of sugar until syrupy. I retrieved the roasted garlic cloves from the pan, peeled and smashed them, and added to the reduction. Then I stirred in a few dabs of heavy cream and maybe a tablespoon of the Valdeon (you don't need a lot, trust me!).
I ended up thinning the stuff with a couple teaspoons of water (didn't want to add more cream because I wanted to keep the nice dark brown sauce pretty clear). Then I dumped the sprouts into the sauce and stirred it all up. Dumped it into a bowl and cozied up with it, impressed with myself.
P.S. I was able to recreate this for my dear friend Ewelina (who brought me some lovely Polish and Hungarian chocolates!) and she liked it! Reproduceability--such a good thing! (But maybe not a word.)