I just pulled the last of the Brussels Sprouts from the garden. Unfortunately the temperatures dropped into the teens and gave them quite a freezing.

I noticed as I harvested that where leaves were left on the stalk, they collapsed and provided some protective cover for the sprouts. Nature is pretty clever! In any event, it was my first harvest in January and I must say quite thrilling to have fresh homegrown greens in the dark of winter. I only took the top part of the stalk as the bottom was quite frost damaged and suited only for the compost heap.

I topped the stalks in early October. That is, I cut the leaves off the top. The theory is it will force plant growth into the sprouts. I did not do that last year, so I wanted to try the technique this year. I don’t know whether it is due to sitting in the garden an extra 70 days, or because I topped the plants, but the sprouts at the top of the stalks that are usually the smallest, were fat and round.

In looking for a new recipe for Brussels Sprouts, I remembered  one I saw in the New York Times. I adapted it to use what I had on hand. While the original recipe says it serves eight, a half-cup serving seems very small. I’d say this serves four as a side or two over rice as a main. This recipe has a bit of heat, due to the sambal oeleck as well as the bit of habanero I added to the vinaigrette.

Brussels Sprouts in Spicy Citrus Vinaigrette

Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main over rice.
Prep time: 30 minutes
For the vinaigrette

2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce
2 tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) orange juice
2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
2 tablespoons (30 ml) sambal oeleck
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon chopped habanero chilli – a piece about the size of your thumbnail, flesh of the chilli only – no seeds– you can add more as you desire or omit for less heat
1-1/2 teaspoons (2 gm) grated ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons (2 gm) chopped garlic

For the Brussels Sprouts

2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
1 tablespoon (14 g) butter – a small knob – no need to get crazy measuring everything
4 cups (250 g) Brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, stemmed, and quartered lengthwise. For larger sprouts cut in half then cut each half lengthwise into thirds. Including a bit of the core in each slice helps keep the leaves together.
Salt and pepper to taste
Orange zest from about half an orange cut into very thin matchsticks – (zest only, no white) for garnish

  1. In a blender, combine all the vinaigrette ingredients. Blend until smooth; set aside.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil and butter until it foams.
  3. Add sprouts and sauté until browned in spots, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  5. Add about half the vinaigrette, toss to coat and continue to cook until the sprouts are crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes longer.
  6. Add more vinaigrette; it may not all be needed.
  7. Mound the Brussels sprouts on a serving plate. Garnish with orange zest if desired.

BS Parallax

This is a unique sprout recipe. The fruit notes in the habanero are picked up by the citrus and while it is spicy, it is not intolerable. You could substitute cabbage or any Pak choi or the like.