How I Made the Best Brussels Sprouts For My Dad’s Birthday
|By Nell Jones - daughter, writer,
My parents, especially my dad – The Reluctant Gourmet, have been cooking for me all my life. For my dad’s 65th birthday I wanted to treat him to something no money could buy, not only because I don’t have any at the moment, but because I knew it would be special to him.
So for his birthday I decided to use what I have learned over the years to cook him a special birthday dinner.
For this masterpiece of a meal, I decided to cook what we all request for birthday meals – steak. I wanted to pair it with risotto, my favorite of course, and a new Brussels sprouts recipe that I’ve gotten very good at making at school. I got lucky when he decided to open and share a fine red wine to go with the steak.
New York Strip Steak
For the steak, I got a New York strip steak at our local grocery store, Mom’s Organic Market. This year I’ve tried to limit how much red meat I’m eating for environmentally sustainable purposes so I usually opt out of eating red meat. However, for this special occasion I could make an exception.
That being said, I made sure to get organic steak because it is more environmentally sustainable and animals are treated better than non-organic steak that you may buy in the supermarket.
I grilled the steak and paired it with a demi glace sauce that my dad has been teaching me how to make since I was little. Of course instead of making it from scratch, we have a house stocked with the commercial demi glaze products, so I kind of cheated and took the reluctant gourmet route in that area of the meal.
I also made mushroom risotto for a side, which has been my favorite meal for as long as I can remember. I’ve made this recipe so many times that I sometimes I even come home and make it as a late night snack.
It is not hard to make, it just requires a lot of patience, which I surprisingly have when I know the food that is waiting at the end.
Now for the best part. A recipe that my dad didn’t teach me but that I made at school and continued to make in order to perfect it. Brussels Sprouts.
Before this recipe, I would just wash and cut Brussels sprouts, put them in a pan with oil and roast them for twenty minutes.
What is different from this Brussels sprout recipe than how I, and most people, cooked Brussels sprouts previously is that I prepared them in the pan first, then the oven.
The transfer of the pan from the stove to the oven was a new technique for my Brussels sprouts creation. While it is a little bit more work, I’ve found that it not only cooks the Brussels sprouts a little faster, but it cooks them better with a crispy outside but a tender inside.
Sautéing them in the pan with the garlic also allows the garlic flavor to integrate more with the Brussels sprouts.
I will definitely be making this meal again when I need to gift someone with my cooking abilities. My dad raved about his birthday dinner, probably because he didn’t have to cook it.
He is, don’t forget, the Reluctant Gourmet.
Birthday Brussels Sprouts
- First, pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
- Wash the Brussels sprouts and cut the ends off and slice them in half either long or short ways.
- Dice the five cloves of garlic.
- Coat the bottom of an oven-proof medium to large pan with olive oil and heat on medium. When the oil gets hot, add the garlic and cook for a minute.
- Add the Brussels sprouts so that they lay flat in the pan. Season them with salt and pepper and let them cook undisturbed for about five minutes or until they start to brown a little.
- At this point, the oven should be heated to 400° F. Transfer the pan into the oven to cook for longer.
- Every five to six minutes, check the Brussels sprouts and move them around a little bit. This will prevent them from burning in one spot.
- In about ten to fifteen minutes, the Brussels sprouts should be tender and a little crispy. At this point, remove them from the oven and let cool for about two minutes.
- Finally, stir in balsamic vinegar to your tasting, and if needed add a little bit more salt and pepper (I tend to like my food saltier than most).