Reverse-Braised Brussels Sprouts
I moved apartments during the month of May, so I didn’t get a single blog post out during May. However, I did make this “reverse-braise” and flounder piccata for lunch while two of my friends hung art in the new place. Perfect timing—it took me about 20 minutes start to finish to make the two dishes and it took my friends 20 minutes to hang the art. We all got the best of both worlds—eating a delicious lunch while looking at photos of cheese and olives on the dining room walls!
So when my friends said they were hungry, I was a bit nervous. We had finished up all the fresh food the day before when we had salad. I turned to the freezer, a last resort for this fresh food junkie. I found a bag of flounder and a bag of Brussels sprouts. My mind, The Flavor Bible, and my pantry went to work to create a frozen dinner feast.
I had never cooked frozen Brussels sprouts before because I always make fresh ones, and I really, REALLY didn’t want to microwave them. So I decided to poach them in a dry white wine to defrost them, heat them up, and infuse them with wine. But poaching is not the most flavorful technique, so after poaching, I browned the outsides of the sprouts in garlic-infused olive oil, essentially creating a “reverse-braise” technique. To make the flavors pop, I added a bit of lemon juice, sea salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese.
Meanwhile, the flounder met a similar fate in a sauté pan with olive oil. After both sides were cooked, I added lemon juice, white wine, capers, and pepper to make a bit of a sauce. No salt here because capers are super-salty. Done!
My friends loved the Brussels sprouts and flounder piccata and were quite pleased they had let me cook while they made the house beautiful.
Wine-Braised Brussels Sprouts
Special Equipment: Large sauté pan with lid; Time: 20 minutes, start to finish
Serves 4 as a side-dish
1 family size bag frozen Brussels sprouts
½ cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay
2 tsp. olive oil
3 garlic gloves, minced
Juice of 1 lemon, to taste (opt.)
Red Hawaiian sea salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, to taste
1. Heat large sauté pan on stovetop over a medium-low heat. When hot add the frozen Brussels Sprouts, breaking apart with a wooden spoon as needed.
2. Add ½ cup wine to the pan. Stir. After wine is heated, cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally.
3. Cook the Brussels sprouts in the wine until fork-tender, about 8-10 minutes.
4. Remove the lid from the pan. Stir, incorporating the wine into the sprouts. When the wine is evaporated, push the sprouts to one side of the pan.
5. Heat the olive oil in the open area in the pan and add the minced garlic. Sauté garlic until lightly golden brown. Spread the garlic-infused olive oil throughout the pan.
6. Reintegrate the Brussels sprouts, allowing them to brown slightly after each stir.
7. When Sprouts are nicely browned, turn off the heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and stir. Sprinkle with lemon juice until the dish has the desired brightness. Then sprinkle with Parmesan to taste. Serve.
© Elizabeth Taylor – 2011