Thanksgiving dinner is really only as good as its sides! Brussels sprouts, roasted to perfection with grapes and a dusting of toasted Marcona almonds is an excellent addition to Thanksgiving dinner. And they can be done ahead and reheated or served at room temperature. The Goddess’s flock of creatures all love Brussels sprouts and this is what she’s doing with the petit choux this year. You don’t really need an actual, written down-type of recipe for this, because this is seriously simple. You can make this dish up to 2 days ahead, cover and chill, then reheat when you’re ready to serve. Isn’t that just terrific?
Clean the sprouts by slicing a thin layer off the end and pulling any loose leaves off. Pull the grapes off of the stems; set aside. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Take a heavy-bottomed oven-proof pan, like a skillet or sauté pan and toss the cleaned sprouts into the pan, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil per pound of sprouts. Swirl the pan to coat the sprouts with the oil. Cover the pan with foil, turn on the burner and listen. That’s right, the burner. You’re going to help the browning process, by getting the pan hot before it goes in the hot oven. Bear with me here. Not only do we periodically need to listen to those near and dear, but we need to listen when we cook. Hear that sizzle? That’s what you want. Turn off the burner (or you may start you hair ablaze and that’s not going to be a good look!), and toss the pan in the oven. Set the timer for 8 minutes. Amuse yourself (or someone else) and when the buzzer goes off, remove the pan from the oven with a POT HOLDER…THE HANDLE IS SCREAMING HOT!!!! If you forget to use the pot holder, you’ll be screaming and Thanksgiving will not happen this year. That is not The Goddess’s intent…this is to help you ease the stress of the day, not cause you pain. Toss the sprouts to move them around the pan, then carefully remove the foil. Add the grapes…will you look at the size of those green grapes? They are larger than the sprouts, but these sprouts were on the small side.
Now, return the pan to the oven and again, set the timer for 8 minutes. You may want to return to whatever you were doing to amuse yourself…remember, what happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen. When the buzzer goes off, toss the sprouts and grapes around again. If you aren’t comfortable doing that, use a wooden spoon to stir them…remember the POT HOLDER!!! Sprinkle with a nice bit of salt and grindings of black pepper—Tellicherry pepper, if you have it. Stick the tip of a small sharp knife into a sprout. It should be slightly tender. Now, this is where personal preference comes into play. We like our sprouts to be slightly tender, but still firm and with some texture, so I felt they needed another 5 minutes…so total time cooking time was 21 minutes. If you have larger sprouts or like them softer and more tender, then you’ll probably want to leave them in for another 9-10 minutes…total cooking time will be 30 minutes (more or less). Remove them from the oven and place them in a single layer (like a cookies sheet with an edge) and let them cool to room temperature. Place in a container, cover and chill.
When you’re ready to serve them, you may reheat them in the microwave until they are the desired temperature. Put in a pretty dish, sprinkle with red pepper flakes, Onion Crunch, dried cranberries or as The Goddess did here, toasted almonds. Marcona almonds are from Spain. They are a bit more buttery and rounder in shape than the almonds that are, well almond-shaped. They are lovely and they toast beautifully. We enjoy the juxtaposition of the silkiness of the spouts and the crunch of the almonds.
Other garnishes might be—
- a drizzle of some really special olive oil
- a drizzle of balsamic reduction or flavored balsamic vinegar
- melted hot pepper jelly thinned with apple cider
- Grindings of mulling spice (put mulling spice in a pepper grinder and grind away)
- a splash of apple cider reduction
- drizzle with pomegranate molasses
- crumbled, cooked smoky bacon
Sweet or acid works well with Brussel sprouts, but I think it works best to do you drizzling, etc., just before serving.
You may add diced apple or pear, instead of the grapes, if that works better with your menu.
One down, six to go…I told you The Goddess likes her sides dishes…so much better than turkey!