I love the flavor beurre noisette (browned butter) gives dishes and thought I'd try it with brussels sprouts. The flavors felt like they would go together well, and then I lightened it a little with some apple and apple cider. I would have added some hazelnuts, but I'm allergic, so I added bacon lardons instead to provide some different textures and color. When browning the butter, don't be too timid or too bold. Too little browning won't add much of the nutty noisette flavor since the flavor of brussels sprouts is so bold, but too close to beurre noir and it brings out bitterness in the dish. Also make sure you use a light colored pot or you won't be able to accurately gauge how much or how quickly your butter is browning. - ChezSuzanne —TheWimpyVegetarian
Test Kitchen Notes
We, of course, loved all the flavors in this dish, but we were won over by the technique ChezSuzanne uses to pull them all together. First the sprouts are lightly steamed (and better to do this for less time so you don't overcook the sprouts later) and tossed with celery salt. Then they're folded into browned butter and cream with some bacon and apples (we used a Granny Smith) and the sauce is cooked down until it glazes the sprouts. At the very end, you add nutmeg and apple cider, infusing the whole with a fruity edge. (Don't forget to season with salt.) The first time we made these, we used half the butter by accident -- the recipe works just as well this way, there's just a little less sauce. -A&M —The Editors
bacon, cut into lardons
apple, peeled, cored and chopped
fresh grated nutmeg; more to sprinkle at the end
Wash, cut off the stems, and halve the brussels sprouts. Discard any discolored leaves. Steam brussels sprouts over salted water until tender. Drain and lightly sprinkle and toss with celery salt. Set aside.
Fry the bacon lardons until crispy. Drain and set aside.
Over low heat, melt butter in a heavy pot. Once the butter is completely melted, turn heat to medium high. It will quickly begin to foam. Keep the butter and foam moving around. As it browns, the foam will subside. I browned my butter until it was a dark nutty-brown. Once it hits the color and flavor you want, immediate reduce the heat to low and add the cream. Stir to completely incorporate the cream. Immediately add the apple pieces, lardons and brussels sprouts.
With a large metal spoon, keep turning the brussels sprouts mixture in the cream/noisette sauce while the sauce thickens and the brussels sprouts mixture becomes glazed with the sauce (5-10 minutes). The apple pieces should be just cooked, not mushy. Add the apple cider and nutmeg. Continue to carefully turn the mixture in the glaze for another 2-3 minutes.
Turn out in a serving dish or the individual plates and rub a pinch of nutmeg with your palms over the dish.