Sunday, February 17, 2013

Brussels Sprouts Steamed with Dill

Plate of Brussels Sprouts
Quick and Easy

Recipe adapted from Hawaii Kai Cookbook

As Seasonal Eaters know, Brussels sprouts don’t grow during the same months that dill does. Hawaii Kai solves this problem neatly by steaming the sprouts with dried dill to infuse them with an unexpectedly summery flavor. Not quite as good as a mid-February week in Hawaii, but still a reminder that green things will grow again in the garden, and that they can be harvested and dried for winter days like today.

Closeup of Brussels Sprouts with Dill
Add More Dill if You Like
In the early 1960s, when this recipe was written, it was said to be Chinese in origin. So you’re probably questioning, like I am, the Parmesan cheese and butter. I’m even questioning the dill. However, Hawaii Kai was written in the early 1960s, when eating crisp-tender cooked vegetables was a revolutionary idea, rarely done in the US. The authors were doubtlessly fascinated when they observed Chinese chefs in Hawaii, and adapted Chinese stir-fry techniques for their own NYC restaurant, adding their own dairy-loving touch.

Stir fry demo
Use High Heat and Stir Frequently
To stir-fry correctly, the oil’s temperature must be high. So use an oil that won’t break down at high temperatures, like sunflower, peanut, or canola. Remember that non-organic canola is genetically modified, so be sure to choose organic.

This recipe takes about the same time as plain steaming, so give it a try if you want something a bit different but don’t want to go all out with the bacon and pine nuts. Although the Parmesan adds a delicious flavor to this dish, a squeeze of lemon is also good. In fact, you could add both.

Adding water and seasoning demo
Add Boiling Water and Seasonings, then Steam
Brussels Sprouts Steamed with Dill
serves about 3

1 lb. Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp. peanut or sunflower oil
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. or more dried dill weed
¼ tsp. white pepper
½ cup boiling water
½ tsp. butter
grated Parmesan cheese (optional garnish)
fresh squeezed lemon (optional garnish)

Wash Brussels sprouts and remove any wilted or spotted leaves. Trim stem ends. Slice lengthwise into half.

Heat nonstick pan on high and add oil. When oil shimmers, add halved Brussels sprouts. Stir-fry over high heat a minute or two, until sprouts are coated with oil and start to brown.

Add sea salt, dill weed, white pepper, and boiling water. Stir and cover, continuing to cook on high heat for about 2 minutes, lifting cover to stir periodically and/or shaking pan  to cook evenly.

When cooked, sprouts will be tender but crunchy, and still bright green. Stir in butter. Serve immediately, topped with lemon and/or Parmesan cheese if desired. 

Plate of Sprouts with Cheese and Lemon
February Blues Be Gone!

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