Brassicas—that genus of plants in the mustard family that includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts, among others—have not always been my vegetables of choice. I blame the fact that I was a child of the 70’s: bell bottoms, 8-track tapes, rotary phones…and seriously overcooked vegetables. My father was considered a “health nut” who insisted we eat whole grains and sprouted seeds, and that we take a daily dose of what he called mushroom tea, now commonly known as kombucha. However, outside of our home, it was a weird time for food, an era when a popular party and potluck dish called “Watergate Salad” was made from a horror list of ingredients that included marshmallows, instant pistachio pudding, and a whipped topping of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil. But, in my opinion, it was the abused vegetables that were the worst. Bowls of once healthful veggies were commonly presented as limp, cooked-to-death wastelands. No wonder I spent years thinking I didn’t like brassicas.
Fortunately, I found myself at a holiday dinner some years back at which my brother-in-law roasted brussels sprouts. This sublime moment forever changed how I think about brassicas in general, and brussels sprouts in particular. Roasting is now my go-to for this fantastic winter vegetable, and—bonus!—these little sprouts of joy are a dish that everyone at a holiday table or potluck can enjoy, including friends with the kinds of dietary restrictions that come with veganism, gluten intolerance, keto or paleo diets, etc.
Garlic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shiitake Mushrooms and Shallots
Serves 5-6 as a side
Garlic-Infused Culinary Oil
- 1/4 cup organic extra virgin olive oil or organic avocado oil
- 2-3 cloves organic garlic, peeled and sliced
- Place olive oil in a small saucepan with peeled, sliced garlic cloves. Slowly heat over low heat, stirring regularly and watching to make sure garlic turns golden brown, but doesn’t burn—20 to 30 minutes.
- When garlic is golden brown, remove pan from heat and let oil cool with garlic in it, about 30 additional minutes.
- Strain garlic-infused oil through a fine sieve.
- Finely chop garlic slices, set aside.
- If making ahead, store oil and garlic in refrigerator in separate airtight containers until ready to use. Oil will hold for up to a month, but chopped garlic should be used within a couple days.
Reconstituted Shiitake Mushrooms
- 2 oz. organic dried shiitake mushroom caps
- Cover mushrooms completely with hot water.
- Allow to soak about 30 minutes, until soft and pliable. Drain.
- Cut away and discard tough mushroom stems.
- Rinse the mushroom caps, pat dry, and coarsely chop. Set aside.
- Save the mushroom soaking water; it’s a nice addition for soups.
- You can also cut off the dried shiitake stems before you soak the caps, and store the dry stems separately in an airtight bag or container. When you have enough stems set aside, pour boiling water over them and let them soak for an hour or more. Strain through cheesecloth to capture more delicious mushroom broth.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shiitakes and Shallots
- 1 1/2 lbs. organic brussels sprouts
- 3 Tbsp. garlic-infused oil (see above)
- 3/4 tsp. Kosher Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground organic black pepper
- 1 ½ tsp. organic shiitake mushroom powder
- 1 large organic shallot, finely chopped
- Reconstituted shiitake mushrooms (see above)
- Extra salt, pepper, and mushroom powder, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Wash brussels sprouts, cut off brown ends, and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Slice sprouts in half lengthwise.
- Thoroughly toss brussels sprouts in large bowl with garlic-infused oil, salt, pepper, and shiitake mushroom powder.
- Pour out onto a sheet pan and roast 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time to brown evenly, until crisp on the outside and tender inside.
- When brussels sprouts are about 10 minutes from coming out of the oven, lightly sauté chopped shallot, until just softened. Add chopped, reconstituted shiitakes to the pan, stir together and heat through.
- Pour the beautifully roasted brussels sprouts into large bowl, add shiitake/shallot mixture, and toss thoroughly.
- Sprinkle with more salt, pepper, and mushroom powder to taste. Serve immediately.
WANT TO BRING THE BEST SIDE TO YOUR NEXT POTLUCK?
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