HOLIDAY DINNER PARTY MENU: Red Wine Braised Short Ribs; Butternut Squash & White Bean Puree with Bacon-Sage Croutons; Alta Brussels Sprouts; Pear Almond Tart
For a month or so this fall, my friend Sophie started having Monday night Gossip Girl and Brussels Sprouts dates with our friend Mark. I’m not sure why they decided those two joys needed to go together—perhaps to analyze the misunderstood Manhattanites along with the misunderstood vegetable? They would cook other things too, mind you, but the centerpiece of their meal was always some delicious variety of sprouts.
When I heard about this tradition (after I got over the fact that I was not involved in it), I asked Sophie about her range of preparations. She told me that her favorite was an experiment to recreate the Brussels Sprouts at Alta restaurant, where they roast the vegetables until they’re nice and crispy, then toss them with a balsamic-honey reduction, sliced gala apples, and pistachios. To make the end result all the more decadent and stunning at the restaurant, they top each mound with a healthy dollop of crème fraiche, which seeps into each sprout as you dig in. Hearing this made me all the more jealous.
So with a little push in the right direction from Sophie, and some help from Alexandra’s Kitchen, who also attempted the famed Alta sprouts, I sat down to an evening of Gossip Girl, green vegetables, and a little wine to tie the two together. These sprouts are also great for nights with other humans instead of TV–so below for other vegetable preparations that are festive and fabulous for parties this time of year.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Oh, and Happy Birthday, Soph!
Alta Brussels Sprouts with Apple, Pistachios, & Crème Fraiche
Makes 2 servings
Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen
10 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 Fuji Apple, unpeeled and thinly sliced
1 large dollop of crème fraiche
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
On a cookie sheet, toss the sprouts together with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt. Roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, redistributing once or twice, until properly brown and crispy.
In the meantime, in a small saucepan, stir together the balsamic and honey over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Let bubble for two minutes or so, until the mixture is reduced by half. Remove from the heat and pour over the apples, pistachios, and sprouts. Toss together, taste for seasoning, and serve immediately with a generous dollop of crème fraiche.
Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables
Root Vegetable Gratin
Potato and Cabbage Gratin
Squash and Sweet Potato Croquettes
Rosemary Potato Galette
String Beans a la Marc
Spiced Carrot-Potato Puree
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Bacon
Butternut Squash & White Bean Puree with Bacon-Sage Croutons