Thursday, September 13, 2012

of Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Goat Cheese

As anyone who knows me is well aware, I have a strange fascination (bordering on obsession) with Brussels sprouts. I cannot say when it first started but I hope it doesn't end anytime soon. Many a friend and/or relative casts a supercilious eye on my culinary experiments with this strange and wonderful vegetable. They were originally cultivated by the ancient Etruscan people who lived in Italy and were seriously into and masters of gardening. Basically, a Brussels sprout is a genetically engineered cabbage; though it was done through natural means: kind of like how poodles became toy poodles. Science/History lesson aside I am always very excited to try any type of Brussels sprout. They are likely to taste gross when overcooked but during the golden peak of doneness before the cells break down they are a heady reminder of why I became so enthralled in the first place.

I absolutely hate boiled Brussels sprouts and for quite some time this was the only way they were known to me. They are mushy, gross, and they lose much of their nutritional value to the stupid boiling process. Luckily my mom tried a recipe of a friends and that, if I could pinpoint it, was the start of my love affair with this almost mystical veggie. These days I prefer my Brussels sprouts sautéed but I also sometimes enjoy them roasted. Their unique flavor and phenotype can sometimes scare off the uninitiated but no one who has tried these particular Brussels sprouts went away unconverted. Trust me when I tell you that the flavors in this dish will make your tastebuds stand up and do the conga (or whatever dance your particular tastebuds prefer). The way that the Brussels sprouts meld with the garlic and the goat cheese is simply divine. And there are no ifs ands or buts about it.

Today's Cast of Characters:

Absolutely delicious today guys. A net of Brussels sprouts, which I imagine is a pound, some goat cheese, garlic, and olive oil pack the most punch in the dish. These guys are seasoned with salt, pepper, italian seasoning, and a bit of cayenne pepper thrown in for a little kick. Occasionally I get really crazy and throw in some onion but I kept it simple today. If you don't like goat cheese, you could make this with any soft or semi soft cheese. I would recommend brie or gruyère so that you don't overshadow the Brussels sprouts' flavor but you could experiment with Gorgonzola or another intense cheese and see how it turns out. I bet it would be wonderful.

What to Do:

Wash and cut the Brussels sprouts into quarters for easy cooking. I remove the outer layer of leaves but I don't exactly know why so you could do this if you wanted or just leave them the way they are and cut off the bottom a bit. I try to make all of my pieces relatively equal but I have issues with that sometimes. It really doesn't matter because they taste great even if you screw up a little bit. They are a very forgiving (and yet temperamental) vegetable.

Put the olive oil in a pan on medium high heat and wait until the olive oil is fragrant before putting in the garlic. Cook the garlic for about one minute or until the pieces juuuust start to brown.Throw in your quartered sprouts and a pinch of salt and toss a few times until the Brussels sprouts are evenly browned and fork tender.

Hurray! It's time to add the Italian seasoning, and a little pinch of cayenne pepper. I prefer a little kick and this is a great way to get it. Sometimes I substitute a little Cajun seasoning instead of the Italian seasoning/cayenne pepper combo.Both definitely work too!

Finally, turn the heat off and add a few spoon fulls of the goat cheese crumbles. Toss and allow the goat cheese to melt a bit before serving. Plate them up and enjoy!

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Goat Cheese


1 lb Brussel Sprouts
2 or 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper (about 1/8 tsp)
About 3 tbsp Olive Oil
Goat Cheese to taste (I used about 2 tbsp)


1. Rinse Brussels sprouts, peel off the outer leaves if desired. Chop the sprouts into quarters and put aside.
2.  In a large sautée pan, heat the olive oil up over medium high heat until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook until garlic is light golden brown.
3.  Put the reserved Brussels sprouts in the pan. Add salt and stir to coat the sprouts evenly in the olive oil. Cook until the Brussels sprouts are fork tender and have some light golden brown coloring.
4. Once the sprouts are golden brown and fork tender, add in your Italian seasoning and cayenne pepper. Stir and cook about a minute more until the sprouts have an even gold on the lighter parts.
5. Now the fun begins! Turn off the heat and add your goat cheese. I stirred in a few spoonfuls of cheese but you could add more or less depending on how cheesy you like your veggies to be.
6. Allow the goat cheese to melt just a bit and then serve. Enjoy!