Brussels Sprout

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon

January  8, 2014

Every week -- often with your help -- Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: A January detox recipe that will give you comfort, not discipline.

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon from Food52

A few years back, we rediscovered our national affection for the brussels sprout (or maybe we found it for the first time) -- and it stuck.

The long, painful boil behind us, we've shaved and slaw-ified. We've deep-fried, standing back, till their frizzly manes curled and popped. And by my count, as of 2014, we have roasted 1 metric ton per person. 

Shop the Story

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon from Food52

But right now, even our most cherished go-tos are an ill fit. A little heavy, or a little too clean and crunchy; none just right. Let us help with that. Here, from Danny Meyer & Michael Romano's classic Union Square Café Cookbook, is a brussels sprout recipe that will bring a bright new pattern to your life: the hash.

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon from Food52  Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon from Food52

Hashing combines the best of our favorite techniques -- the loft of a raw shredded salad with the warmth and toasted edges of high-heat roasting or frying. It takes little time or planning to pull off and, just in time for January, gives you a light -- but not too light -- new favorite.

More: 11 Resolution-Approved Detox Recipes

"We had long thought that brussels sprouts were a 'torpedo' as we used to say; in other words, an item that could sink a dish it was paired with," Romano wrote in an email. "So we took on the challenge of creating a recipe that would help people like brussels sprouts!" It was a hit: lithe and cooked just enough, with no cabbage-y funk.

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon from Food52

Here's what to do:

Halve, then thinly slice a pile of sprouts. With a little therapeutic knife work, tight green coils relax into a feathery heap. As you go, you'll toss the strands in lemon juice and break up any lingering clumps. Genius points: you can prep this recipe a few hours ahead, if you stop here.

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon from Food52

When you're ready to eat, heat olive oil in a wide sauté pan, then pour in your pile of would-be slaw, plus garlic and poppy seeds (or mustard seeds, per a popular variation).

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon from Food52

Stir it around just till it loses its raw edge, then pour in white wine for a quick, cleansing steam. Season, then serve before it loses its glow.

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon from Food52

This is detox, how we like it.

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon from Food52

Union Square Café's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon

From Union Square Café Cookbook (HarperCollins, 1994)

Serves 4 to 6
1 pound large brussels sprouts
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom, except Michael Romano & Danny Meyer courtesy of Union Square Café via The Atlantic

Got a genius recipe to share -- from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]. Thanks to Food52er Eliz. for this one!

Listen & Subscribe

From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

Listen & Subscribe

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Ys Hj
    Ys Hj
  • Olivia Welte
    Olivia Welte
  • Margarita Uricoechea
    Margarita Uricoechea
  • I_Fortuna
  • tastysweet
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Ys H. January 17, 2015
You could do the same with cabbage with beautiful results and 1/10th cost.
Jazzcat January 17, 2015
cabbage? possibly at 1/10th the taste also...
Olivia W. February 1, 2014
Can anyone tell me where to find a beautiful wooden bowl like the one above?
Kristen M. February 1, 2014
I think that one might be vintage, but we sell a similar one in Provisions!
Margarita U. January 13, 2014
Trader Joes sells bags of shaved Brussel sprouts ready to use. I usually stir-fry them with sliced Shitake mushrooms (frozen from Whole Foods or fresh) but this recipe is a another use for the BS.
tastysweet January 13, 2014
That is fantastic news. I hope they sell those at our TJ'S in Naples, FL. store. Will check it out. Thanks for the information.
I_Fortuna January 12, 2014
Cabbage works for this recipe too. : }
tastysweet January 12, 2014
Would it be ridiculous to ask if a mandolin could do the slicing? I just bought the Oxo one and now have find uses for it besides potatoes. Or is the knife the best way to go?
Jazzcat January 12, 2014
not at all... try it!
I_Fortuna January 12, 2014
I almost always use a knife but a mandolin works great for many veggies. Here are some: cucumber, tomatoes, onions, carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes and many others. I like the idea of using a mandolin or potato peeler for thin slices of veggies to put on my salad, stir fry and even for soup because they cook up quickly.
I also use a potato peeler for shredding carrots and zucchini especially for soups, salads and stir fry.
I have even become good enough at slicing with a knife that I can make super thin slices of potato or sweet potato for making snack chips. : )
MJsmom January 12, 2014
I have been hashing my brussels sprouts ever since reading the recipe in Margaret Fox's Cafe Beaujolais cookbook - which I bought way back in 1988 or 1989! The Cafe Beaujolais was in Mendocino, and a showplace for Margaret Fox's cooking. Wonderful wonderful food there....
I don't think Union Square chefs invented this one.
luvcookbooks January 12, 2014
Union Square Cafe opened in 1986.
MJsmom January 12, 2014
It would be interesting to know who actually had the recipe or ideas first. The Cafe Beaujolais was open well before 1986. According to amazon, Margaret acquired Cafe Beaujolais in 1977. I have the cookbook somewhere - and it's a delight to read. I have cooked from it many times. She introduced me to the whole brussels sprouts hash thing, which my family has enjoyed now at our table many times!
Ann T. January 14, 2014
Cafe Beaujolais is still in business in Mendo!
MJsmom January 14, 2014
Different Chef, though, it looks like - from the website. Margaret Fox now is a coach for entrepreneurs and has a book out, 'Morning Food.' This I got from Google.
Jazzcat January 12, 2014
I'll give this a go this week, looking forward to it. Thank You
Boomdog02 January 12, 2014
I've been doing shredded sprouts for years, althought I sautee mine in brown butter and finish with a splash of red wine vinegar and toasted almonds. Everyone raves. I recently saw a recipe where you can oven roast them with sausage and Korean chili paste.
amyeik January 10, 2014
I love this cookbook! There is a sense of humor as well as some great recipes.
Eliz. January 10, 2014
So glad you chose to feature this recipe! I believe it preceded both the craze for roasted vegetables and pairing of Brussels sprouts with bacon if only by a year or two. In any case, it's nice to think about ways restaurants--and media--contribute to the common good by popularizing wallflower-vegetables.
cookinginvictoria January 8, 2014
This is one of my favorite ways to prepare Brussels sprouts. So happy to see that this recipe has been awarded genius status. The Union Square Cafe Cookbook is a gem!
EmilyC January 8, 2014
I love this recipe! Glad to see it highlighted here. I also like to follow a Melissa Clark variation with pancetta and caraway seeds and her pasta recipe with shredded sprouts:
KirstenS January 8, 2014
There's a version in... maybe a Gourmet cookbook? That uses cumin seeds instead of poppy seeds. Genius!
cateler January 8, 2014
Been hashing sprouts for a while, but never thought of poppy seeds! thank you!
Vstarr71 January 8, 2014
I'm on a brussel sprout kick right now! Can't wait to try this out! Yesterday I sliced them up and sautéed with a bit of pancetta, onion, balsamic vinegar, EVOO and chickpeas....topped with a dollop of fresh pesto. It's like a warm salad!
fiveandspice January 8, 2014
And here I thought I couldn't be surprised by Brussels sprouts anymore! Poppy seeds, wow! Can't wait to try this.
luvcookbooks January 8, 2014
This is our holiday recipe for brussels sprouts. My husband is in charge of cooking for this dish. I even posted it (w attribution) several years ago. Never had it at USC but love the recipe from the book!! Danny Meyer is one of my heroes-- and Michael Romano!!
Susan B. January 8, 2014
It was this recipe that got me to like Brussels sprouts. They are so good this way! Now I eat them all the time, cooked in many different ways, but never boiled!
Kristin N. January 8, 2014
Definitely a different way to cook brussels sprouts, and one I think I may have to try ;)