Brussel sprouts – you either love them or hate them. As for me, I am a confessed brussel sprout lover. When I was younger, my affinity to these crucifers was a closely guarded secret. More commonly viewed as offensive by my friends, I feared that announcing my love for the mini-cabbages might lead to humiliation and ostracization. So, I became a closet brussel sprout eater, bingeing in secrecy, sneaking bags into my college apartment to steam when home alone – with the windows wide open to air out the tell-tale aroma.
Years later, I am far more comfortable in my crucifer-loving shoes, the first to announce their appeal, both as a flavor component in a dinner menu as well as in their nutritional qualities. (Brusssel sprouts are packed with vitamins A and C, and are rich in potassium and cancer-fighting sinigrin.) But even within the walls of our family home, we are divided in the Brussel Sprout Department, so their appearance at the dinner table always garners mixed reviews
Imagine my delight, then, when I prepared brussel sprouts one evening in a skillet, rather than my go-to steamer, with shitake mushrooms, garlic, and soy sauce. The earthy flavor of the brussel sprouts was toned down as they were sautéed with the garlic. The soy sauce added a rich, salty component that bound the dish, and the shitakes contributed a meaty quality that offset the cabbaginess of the sprouts. The verdict was unanimous at the dinner table: this was flavorful, addictive and satisfying. Everyone wanted a second helping – well, everyone except the child who won’t eat mushrooms, but that’s another story.
Sautéed Brussel Sprouts and Shitake Mushrooms
To dress up this vegetable dish, add one tablespoon white truffle oil to the brussel sprouts before serving.
Serves 4 as a side dish
1 lb. (500 grams) brussel sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb. (250 grams) shitake mushrooms, ends trimmed, halved
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white truffle oil (optional)
Wash and trim brussel sprouts:
Wash brussel sprouts. Cut off ends and remove any discolored outer leaves. Cut brussel sprouts in half, top to bottom. Keep any small brussel sprouts whole.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add brussel sprouts and sauté until they begin to color, 3 minutes. Add shitake mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until mushrooms begin to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup chicken stock and cook, stirring, over medium heat until stock evaporates. Add remaining stock in increments, stirring, until brussel sprouts are crisp-tender. Add soy sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste (remember the soy sauce will also add salt.) Remove from heat. Drizzle with optional truffle oil and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Note: To serve as a vegetarian course, substitute chicken stock with mushroom stock.