When a dear friend learned that I was moving to a beautiful piece of land and would finally have the time to grow lots of food, she gifted me with a cookbook "for when your garden explodes" called Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans and Other Good Things by Lois M. Landau and Laura G. Myers. Lots of casserole recipes but some fun stuff, too. The recipe for Marinated Brussel Sprouts in the book is yummy. I'm not growing a winter garden this year but get a weekly allotment from a CSA (community supported agriculture) which had brussel sprouts as part of the bounty this week. Football playoffs this weekend: what to do? Lightening the recipe to serve as part of an array of food that would be scarfed down seemed like a good idea. In the spring when my tarragon is especially fragrant and intense with oils, I infuse various vinegars - white and red wine, rice and cider - with bruised branches of this lovely herb. If you can find it, stores usually only carry the white wine version. Unpasteurized cider vinegar has so many healthful qualities that I try to work it into recipes whenever I believe it's flavor marries well with the ingredients. Tarragon is readily available in the produce section these days so I include a "recipe" for infusing it to make your own versatile product. —Amber Olson
about 2 cups
For the Brussel Sprouts:
yellow mustard seeds
brussel sprouts, stem end trimmed, cut in half if small, quarters if larger
sea salt, or more to taste
slender green onions, white and light green part, thinly sliced
small serrano pepper, finely minced
fat clove of garlic, smashed
extra virgin olive oil
tarragon cider vinegar
bunch tarragon branches
1, 2, or 3 cups vinegar of your choice, white, red or rice wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar (preferably organic raw unfiltered)
Put the seeds in a small saute pan over low heat and toast a few minutes until you can smell the caraway aroma and the mustard seeds just begin to pop. Take off the heat and set aside.Steam the brussel sprouts until just tender. Remove to a bowl. Sprinkle with the sea salt. Add the scallions. Depending on the heat level of the serrano and your preference for heat, add the pepper to taste. Finely mince the smashed garlic and add it. Toss in the toasted seeds. Gently mix to combine.
Drizzle the oil, vinegar and agave over the warm vegetables and gently mix to combine and coat. Some of the sprout leaves may separate.Taste for salt and heat. Let the food sit at room temperature for a half hour, stirring occasionally to coat the vegetables evenly. Sprouts can be served at room temperature but will improve in flavor if placed in fridg and chilled for a few hours or days. Serve with toothpicks as an appetizers.
Have ready a clean wide mouthed pint or quart jar. Pour boiling water into jar to the top, let sit 10 minutes, discard water and turn upside down on a rack to cool. Meanwhile, rinse herb branches and dry on towels. Lay herbs on a cutting board and using the back side of a wooden spoon bruise the leaves and stems. Depending on the amount of herbs you have, stuff them tightly into a jar that will be half full of herbs, pint or quart size. Pour in the vinegar of choice until herbs are submerged. Seal jar and place in a cool dark place for two weeks at least to steep. Taste for flavor and either continue to steep or strain off herbs through a cheesecloth lined strainer into a bowl. Pour infused vinegar into a bottle. Store away from direct sunlight. Enjoy your creation!