My husband and I love to go to The Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, on a weeknight, sit at the bar, which faces the open kitchen, and order a bunch of appetizers and nibbles. Nibbles are a Vanderbilt specialty. There's great homemade beef jerky and pickles, and blistered shishito peppers with dipping salt, but the undisputed star -- which we order every time we go -- is the fried Brussels sprouts. The sprouts arrive in a towering pile; the leaves are pulled apart and fried, with the sweet hearts tossed into the oil and cooked just to the point of tenderness. The crisp shards are then painted with a mix of sriracha, honey and lime juice, making the sprouts tangy, hot and sweet all at once. In an attempt to replicate these at home, I painstakingly peeled a pound of sprouts and got frying. Happily, I discovered that if you're willing to deal with a little hot oil, you can do a pretty good job of replicating these guys at home. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did! —Merrill Stubbs
Trim the stem end of the sprouts and gently separate the leaves with your fingers, collecting them in a large bowl. When you reach the heart of the sprout (where it's tough to pry off the remaining leaves), add the heart to the bowl with the leaves.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sriracha, honey and lime juice. Taste and add more sriracha or honey if you like. Set aside.
Set about 2 inches of oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Heat until a Brussels sprout leaf begins to sizzle and crisp as soon as you add it to the oil. Fry the sprouts in batches, using a screen to protect you from sputtering oil and keeping your face away from the pot as the sprouts cook. Remove the sprouts with a slotted spoon after 30 seconds to a minute, when crisp and brown. Drain them on a double layer of paper towels while you fry the rest of the sprouts.
Once all the sprouts are fried, transfer them to a large bowl and sprinkle them generously with salt. Toss gently to combine. Working quickly, drizzle some of the sauce over the sprouts and toss again to coat lightly. Taste, add more sauce if necessary, and serve immediately, before they wilt!