Professional chefs in kitchens all over the country are paying more and more attention to Asian and Pan-Asian food, so I got excited when I found a recipe that would allow me to “Asianize” one of my favorite winter vegetables at home–the beloved Brussels sprout.
I remember a few years ago when a restaurant in San Antonio, The Monterey (which closed in late 2015), was serving a Brussels sprout dish that everyone raved about. I ran down there to try it and found it was already off the menu and could not be had. I did everything I could to feign a desperate need for the recipe. I tweeted. I begged and even batted my eyelashes at the chef. While the chef eventually did tweet me the recipe, it turned out to be an epic fail.
Needless to say, that did not bode well with me on two levels. One, that I did not succeed. But, two, it was clear and apparent that the recipe was completely inaccurate (did the chef do that on purpose was something that always remained heavy on my mind?), so I was a bit cautious about trying this version that sounded very similar.
Unlike the Tweeting chef who did me wrong, this recipe comes from a trustworthy blog, Food52, which serves as a recipe exchange for thousands of participants interested in the growing local food movement. The person who submitted this recipe was inspired from a dish at the very cool Brooklyn restaurant, The Vanderbilt, which focuses on seasonal and local ingredients.
Spicy from sriracha, sweet from honey and tangy from lime juice, this sauce is drizzled over fried Brussels sprout leaves. And they are going to change your life. Or at least change a meal. I promise that even non-Brussels sprouts fans will devour this dish and beg you for more.
Undoubtedly, the preparation is little laborious since you have to separate the leaves of each and every sprout, as well as quite messy since you have to fry them in oil (and they do splatter a lot), so make this on a day when you have some time and also need to give the kitchen floor a little love. Because you will need to after you make this dish…
Despite the inherent challenges in this recipe, when you sit down and take the first bite, you will know the extra effort and time were a worthwhile investment. Spicy, sweet, tangy and crunchy. Heaven.
Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves with Sriracha-Honey-Lime Drizzle
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 3 tablespoons raw honey
- Juice of 1 lime
- Maldon salt after frying
- Vegetable or canola oil for frying
Wash the sprouts and let them drain in a colander in the sink. Trim the end of a Brussels sprout and begin to carefully pull the leaves away with your fingers, separating them one-by-one and then place them in a big bowl. When you can no longer remove any leaves from the sprout, you have reached the heart and just toss it into the bowl with the leaves.
In a small bowl, add the sriracha, honey and lime and stir together to blend well. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Set aside the sauce until just after frying all of the leaves and hearts.
In a large, heavy pot, add at least an inch or more of frying oil. Place over medium-high to high heat and let it get hot so that when you place a leaf in the oil, it splatters and spits and begins to sizzle. If you have a splatter screen for your pan, use it.
Begin to fry the leaves in batches, trying not to crowd the pan, but being carefully as the oil will splatter.
Once the leaves turn crispy and golden (about 1-2 minutes), remove them using a slotted spoon and place on two layers of paper towel-lined plate. Immediately sprinkle with a dash of Maldon salt and continue frying the rest of the leaves. It will likely be four batches, lightly salting each batch as it is added to the plate.
When the leaves are out of the bowl, dry the bowl well as this is where you will toss the leaves with the sauce. Once all of the sprouts are fried, transfer them to the big bowl and drizzle with half of the sauce. Toss well to coat and taste. Add more sauce if desired and serve immediately.