Since we were away for a while, we hadn’t gotten our weekly share of vegetables from the CSA. And, as we can attest, once you start getting fresh vegetables, you’ll never want to go back to the store-bought kind. Since it was nearly a week until our next infusion of green goodness, we did pick up some carrots and broccoli (woggly flavored and limp, respectively), and stopped at one of the many farmers’ markets in town. There we picked up sugar snap peas (Sunday’s Primavera), Yukon gold potatoes (potatoes gratin), strawberries (for with ice cream), Brussels sprouts, and a seeded epi loaf of bread (it’s the best bread on the planet, we’ll just eat it). We didn’t have a plan for the Brussels sprouts, but we knew they were green and looked good, so we picked up some with a vague idea of using them for dinner.
On the way home, we thought we had a recipe for using the Brussels sprouts lying around, and, sure enough, we did. From In Season by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, which has a nice-sounding Roasted Brussels sprouts with walnuts and Pecorino. We didn’t have Pecorino, so we improvised (the spell checker suggests “improved,” and why argue?) with feta, instead. It also sounded as though their recipe was more like a salad, but we went with a hot side dish.
- 10 Brussels sprouts, halved
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/3 cup feta cheese
- 2-3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- lemon juice (from two wedges)
Some of this olive oil is cooked, some not, so go with a high quality extra-virgin olive oil for the taste. For the Brussels sprouts, we went with organic — we were at the farmers’ market, and what better place to vote with your money for clean food?
Preheat oven to 450°F (350°F if toasting walnuts in the oven).
Toast walnuts. Your choice here, either toast them in a small skillet, or on a sheet in the oven. We couldn’t choose, but, since we were already baking, we put them in a small cast iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes.
Toss Brussels with oil. In a bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with about a tablespoon of olive oil, until they are well-coated. By then your hands will be, too, but olive oil is good for the skin.
Add Salt and Pepper. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and toss to distribute.
Place on baking sheet. Place each spout half on the sheet, cut side up, leaving about an inch between each. This is to ensure a bit of crispness.
Bake. Bake the Brussels sprouts until fork tender and some of the outer leaves have browned and crisped up, about 20 minutes.
Mix together. In a medium bowl, mix the Brussels sprouts, the walnuts, and the feta cheese, adding about another tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil. If needed, season with more salt (unlikely with the feta) and pepper.
Serve. Spritz with the lemon juice from a wedge or two (we forgot tonight; next time!) after plating. Or include a wedge so people can do their own. Well, that was quite easy, and different from the standard steamed sprouts, don’t you think? Might as well have these from time to time, just to change it up.
Brussels sprouts are sometimes bitter, but this dish solves that by a bit of roasting to bring out the sweetness, and the olive oil helps to temper any remaining bitterness. Of course, the walnuts and feta would go with anything, so they are a natural pairing here, too. Enjoy! We did. Four stars.