I have a confession to make. I saw this recipe about two weeks ago when Caitlin, our wonderful project manager, and I, were noodling around Food 52, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs’ new food blog. Actually the blog is just new to us. Well, we came upon this recipe and I said, “Brussels sprouts with fish sauce!! That sounds gross.” Caitlin agreed.
Well, I don’t know, the recipe stuck in my head, maybe because it sounded so weird. Fish sauce is only anchovies in a liquid of water, sugar and salt, and I love anchovies. So I went back to it a few days later, read the whole thing for the first time and thought, you know, this could be very good. All the Momofuku restaurants are fantastic, always showcasing unusual combinations. I have never eaten at any of them but my older son has been at the noodle bar several times and would often bring me home desserts to taste. So one night, I decided to give this Brussels sprouts recipe a whirl.
It was delicious!! And unusual. And perfect for a Thanksgiving dinner side dish. The vinaigrette makes it light and refreshing instead of an additional heavy dish with the typical bacon or chestnuts. And, you don’t even have to serve this hot – it can be at room temperature – perfect for all the commotion that accompanies a Thanksgiving day feast. I think it’s the perfect side dish. It is going to grace my table on Thursday and I hope you’ll try it too!
Photo by James Ransom
MOMOFUKU’S ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH FISH SAUCE VINAIGRETTE – FROM FOOD 52
-serves 6 as a side
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
2 tablespoons very thinly sliced cilantro stems, plus 1/2 cup leaves
3 tablespoons chopped mint
2 pounds Brussels sprouts (smaller ones are better)
Combine the vinaigrette (below), cilantro stems, and mint in a bowl, and set aside.
Peel away any loose or discolored outer leaves, trim the dry end of the stems with a knife, and cut the sprouts in half. Cut any especially large ones in quarters. Wash and dry very well.
To roast the Brussels sprouts, heat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or just enough to evenly coat the bottom of the pan) in 2 oven-safe wide skillets (12 to 14 inches) over medium heat. When the oil slides easily from side to side of the pan, add the Brussels sprouts cut-side down. When the cut faces of the sprouts begin to brown, transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking, about 15 minutes. The sprouts are ready when they are tender but not soft, with a nice, dark brown color.
Serve warm or at room temperature. When ready to serve, place the Brussels sprouts in one big bowl, top with the dressing to taste and cilantro leaves, and toss once or twice to coat.
FISH SAUCE VINAIGRETTE
1/2 cup fish sauce (adjust to taste — some fish sauce brands are saltier)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 to 3 red bird’s-eye chiles, thinly sliced, seeds intact (or substitute dried red chili pepper flakes to taste)
Combine the fish sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chiles in a jar. Cover and shake. Taste; if too salty, add more water and/or lime juice. This vinaigrette will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.