Brussels sprouts are the classic vegetable everyone jokes about hating:
But I figure the only reason these aren’t your favorite vegetable is that you’ve never cooked them Momofuku style!
When you cook them properly, brussels sprouts take on a crispy, caramelized quality that makes them freakin’ addictive. David Chang, the chef behind the Momofuku restaurant group actually had to take them off the menu at one of his eateries.
“Every single table ordered them. It was ridiculous. I would’ve had to dedicate one of my cooks to doing nothing but cooking sprouts all night.”
Here’s how to turn brussels sprouts from boring and ordinary to a delicious favorite that even kids won’t stop eating.
The sprouts Chang took off the menu were pan roasted with crispy chunks of bacon and then tossed in pureed kimchi. At another restaurant, he deep-fried them and tossed them in fish sauce. And at Ko (a restaurant with only 12 seats!) he browned them in a skillet, tossed them in sriracha hot sauce, and served them with a squirt of lime juice.
“Basically, you can’t f*ck them up,” Chang says, “Cook the Sh*t out of them; just don’t turn them in to charcoal. They’re really resilient to strong flavors. They’re incredibly forgiving.”
The key to brussels sprouts isn’t the flavoring, it’s how you cook them. Get the first part right and you can give them any kind of a spin you want. Your secret is to give them an evenly browned finish.
Slice the sprouts lengthwise, then cook them cut side down. I like to use nitrite-free bacon fat (I’ve written about uncured bacon before here: Sodium Nitrites Are Not A Good Idea)
A cast-iron skillet on your stovetop is the best way to get a delicious carmelization. But if you’re cooking for a large group you can easily lay them down on a baking sheet and roast them in a hot oven.
Brussels sprouts cooked right don’t need anything more than some salt and lemon juice. Anything else you want to add is totally up to you
Here’s a recipe straight from David Chang (serves 4):
- 1 pound fresh brussels sprouts
- 1/4 pound thick cut bacon (get uncured!)
- Butter (optional, get butter from grass-fed cows)
- Sriracha hot sauce (also called “rooster sauce”)
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degress
- Trim the hard ends off the sprouts, then slice in half lengthwise
- Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat until crispy (about 5 minutes). Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate
- Drain most of the fat from the pan and add the sprouts cut side down. Raise the heat to medium high and sear until sprouts begin to sizzle. Put the skillet in the oven and roast until the sprouts are deeply browned (about 8 minutes), then shake the pan to flip them over. Pull the pan from the oven when the sprouts are bright green and fairly tender (about 10 minutes more)
- Return the pan to your stovetop over medium heat. Stir in the bacon and, optionally, a pat or two of butter. Swirl until evenly mixed.
- Place in a bowl and add a few squirts of sriracha and a squeeze or two of fresh lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with anything!