How to cook brussels sprouts, garlic and shallots?

I'm loving my sprouts and have been cooking them in my steamer, which is good, but now I want to do something more interesting. Someone suggested garlic and shallots so I bought those. How do I cook this all together? Sautee everything in a skillet? (Or everything in the steamer?!) Or steam the sprouts first in the steamer most of the way, and then toss them in the skillet for the last few minutes with onions and shallots to "finish"? I just don't know the right approach. Any suggested spices with this combo? Thank you for helping a beginner ;-)

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Reiney
Reiney May 5, 2012

I love to cook Brussels sprouts by pan-frying to get a bit of caramelization.

First, though, parcook the sprouts in simmering salted water, or steam. (Parcook = cook until the sprout is still firm but, when skewered with a paring knife, falls off the tip after a few seconds). Shock in ice water and drain quickly. You want them to be as dry as possible for when you pan fry.

Next - your base. This is where garlic & shallots can come in, as well as bacon/pancetta/guanciale. Sweat these in a mix of butter and olive oil. If you're preparing ahead of time you can pause here.

If there's not enough bacon or other fat in the pan, add more butter as needed. You want enough fat to get a good pan fry. Heat this up and toss your sprouts with the onion/garlic/shallot/bacon/etc through over highish heat until you have a pretty brownish colour to a few of the sides.

Panfry the sprouts in a few batches if needed - to get a good caramelization you don't want the sprouts to be crammed in the pan and touching each other ("overcrowding the pan").

Other things you can add to this mix: Brighten with a deglaze with white wine at the end or squeeze of lemon. Panfried mushrooms. Toasted nuts (hazelnuts, almonds).

Instead of panfrying you can roast the sprouts in the oven, but I'd still parcook them in water/steam first. Be careful not to burn the garlic if you go this route.

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pierino
pierino May 5, 2012

Another skillet method is to trim and halve the shallots. Then thinly slice them across the grain so that you have nothing but green strands. Sautee them in butter along with minced garlic and shallots. Spritz with a little tarragon vinegar. No par cooking required.

Or look for the very tiniest sprouts you can find, about the size of the fingernail on your pinky finger. Use the same method but they can be left whole.

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pierino
pierino May 5, 2012

Actually that should have read "trim and halve the sprouts". Sometimes my lap top is too smart for me.

mainecook61
mainecook61 May 5, 2012

You say you have perfectly fresh brussels sprouts? I wish I did. (Mine are seedlings right now.) Why do anything to them except toss them in a pot of salted boiling water until they are just tender, the Julia Child way? Then a bit of butter or some leftover bacon crumbles or a spot of leftover hollandaise and there you are.

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