Saturday, November 24, 2012

Broccoli Balls...

...That's what someone called Brussels Sprouts on  a post of mine on Facebook. Either that, or he knows my Secret Service code name for when I'm President.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic, Parmesan Cheese, and White Truffle Oil. This was my Thanksgiving contribution. I was asked to bring a Green Vegetable. That's always a hard one, especially when you have to make it at home and travel with it, even for a short distance. Many green vegetables will be cold and soggy by the time you get there. And, I knew their kitchen would be busy as they prepared the bulk of meal, so making it there was out.

My solution was to come up with something I could start at home and then stick in the oven for ten minutes before dinner. I knew the turkey would be out by then, resting. 

I like Brussels Sprouts. I made sure to eat them at work the day before in the employee cafeteria so I would remember exactly how not to make them.

 First, I bought just under the amount I thought I would need, thus assuring me of having just the right amount. I always forget that when they say "there will be 15 people" and ask me to bring the green vegetable, that the green vegetable is not the only thing on the menu. I usually buy and prepare way too much. My mother ingrained this fear in me...the very worst thing in the world would be to run out of food, even just any one item. Even the green vegetable.

Then I prepared them. I rinsed and just trimmed the bottom where the stem was attached. I do not cut little X's into the bottoms or tops of them like some recipes suggest.

My compost overfloweth.

I blanched them in lightly salted water for about 3 - 4 minutes, then shocked them in an ice water bath.

Then came the bulk of the cooking time. I dressed them very simply - just a little olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked black pepper ( I used Black Hawaiian Sea Salt because I had some. You can use whatever you have.) I roasted them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, just before they were about to brown.

Then, I dressed them with white truffle oil, fresh chopped garlic (I used a fairly small, but rough chop), and Parmesan cheese.

I did this with enough time to let them cool completely. I didn't want to cover them with foil and travel with them while they were still hot. The trapped heat would have continued cooking them, and they might have gotten mushy, employee cafeteria style.

When the time came, I put them in the oven at 350 and watched them carefully for about ten minutes. I turned on the broiler for the last minute or so.

The truffle oil is what elevated them to royalty. Truffle oil can be a bit expensive, (not as expensive as actual truffles, which I've never had) but I splurged. It was worth it. It has a unique, earthy flavor. Truffles are a  kind of mushroom, but I wouldn't describe the flavor as mushroomy. Anyway, there are some people in my family who don't like mushrooms and wouldn't eat the truffle oil, so I made a separate, untruffled batch. Their loss. Also, there are people who don't like Brussels Sprouts at all and wouldn't eat them no matter what I did to them. Fine with me. I ate theirs. 

By the way, truffle oil is not pure truffle. Or, at least not the oil I buy. The one I have is sunflower oil with truffle extract. The flavor is still divine.

This is a White Truffle:

Not pretty, but delicious. Truffles and truffle oil are to be used sparingly. Not only can the flavor overwhelm a dish, but they are one of the most expensive foods on the planet. The record for the sale of a single truffle at auction is $330, 000.00 for a 3.3 pound white truffle. My small bottle of truffle oil was only about $13.00, so when I look at it comparatively, I feel a lot better.

Eat Well. Have Fun. Be kind. Give love.

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