November 21, 2011

Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Rosemary and Aged Cheddar

Now if you're one of the 80 percent of the world that won't eat Brussels Sprouts, I compel you to take a moment and re-evaluate.

What is it about these tasty little bundles that you hate? They've barely got any flavour, so it can't really be that. They have a similar texture to some household favourites, so it can't be that. Does it stem from the fact that when you're Mom served them up there were, maybe, more interesting items on the plate? Turkey? Roast beef? Mashed potatoes and gravy? Yorkshire puddings?

For whatever reason, the fact that Brussels Sprouts seem to often accompany a special family dinner, like Thanksgiving or Christmas, means something. It means they are a decent side dish. Until now.

I've been wanting to try this recipe since I saw it in my Fine Cooking mag. Last night, I served this showstopper to Nathan, not as a side dish, but as the main meal - the only meal. Do yourself a favour and see why Brussels Sprouts are no longer a decent side dish but rather a wonderful complement that will make anyone come back for seconds.

4 tbsp butter
1 - 1.5 lbs Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 large shallots, halved
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup Aged Cheddar Cheese
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs 
2 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
1/4 cup parmesan, grated

1. Heat oven to 375 F, with rack positioned in centre. Using a food processor, slice the shallots and Brussels Sprouts. 

2. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat until it begins to brown and starts smelling nutty. Reserve 1 tbsp of melted butter. Add Brussels and shallots to pan and toss while cooking until softened, about 6-8 mins. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, add cream, milk, cheese, cayenne pepper and nutmeg and heat over medium heat until cheese is melted, whisking occasionally, without boiling. 

4. Mix the panko, rosemary and parmesan with the reserved butter. Put brussels mixture in a pie plate, add sauce (gently jiggle it to mix), top with panko mixture. 

5. Bake for 15 or so minutes until breadcrumbs start to brown and edges are bubbling. Let sit for 5 minutes before dishing up. 

Serve and prepare to take your praise!