Giving Brussel sprouts a chance

Brussel sprouts were one of the few things I really didn’t like when I was a kid, but my dad sure did like them.  He would even “steal” them from my plate when I was young, something for which I was always grateful.  But since I’ve been talking to my kids a lot about how tastes change, I decided to give them another chance.  The search was on for a recipe.  I came across this one in Ottolenghi’s book Plenty.  The first sentence read “Though unorthodox, here’s probably one of the best things you can do with the old Brussels.”  I was sold.

Was I sold on Brussel sprouts with the end result?  Not completely convinced to be honest,  but seeing how I’m not one to waste, I gave it another chance the next day for lunch and it turns out that this recipe is even better the next day, served luke warm.  The wonderful nuttiness of the sesame oil was now more present and really brought the whole dish together. Perfect for a packed lunch.

For four, served with rice

  • 4 tbsp sweet chile sauce
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2/3 of a 300g bloc of firm tofu, sliced with slices cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 lb Brussel sprouts, trimmed and each cut into 3 slices
  • about 1/2 cup sunflower seed oil
  • 1 cup sliced scallions
  • 12-15 dried shitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup cilantro

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Put the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let these sit for 30 minutes to an hour.  Drain, quarter them, and set aside.

Whisk the first five ingredients together in a bowl and add the tofu.  Let this marinate while you prepare the Brussel spouts.

Trim and slice the spouts.  Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium high with 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil.  Add the sprouts with a good pinch of salt and cook, stirring infrequently until they are slightly charred in spots.  Transfer them to a bowl.

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Add 2 tbsp of oil to the pan and sauté the scallions and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes over medium high heat.  Add these to the Brussel sprouts.

Add another 2 tbsp oil to your pan and carefully add the tofu (it will spatter).  Cook until the tofu is nicely browned on both sides (about 3 minutes a side).  Add the other cooked ingredients, remaining tofu marinade, and cilantro.  Toss and remove from the heat.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt or soy sauce.

Serve warm (not hot) with rice or divide into tupperwares to bring to work or school the next day.

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