I adore Brussels sprouts but they can be tricky to cook just right, especially if one's attention is on lots of other dishes, as in the case of a holiday dinner. This Thanksgiving I've found the solution: smoky, lemony shredded and sautéed brussels sprouts! The sprouts can be shredded a day ahead and then get quickly cooked just before serving, eliminating any worry about soggy, under-cooked, over-charred, or otherwise less than yummy Brussels sprouts.
In this recipe, lemon keeps the dish nice and bright and smokiness comes from smoked sweet paprika, not bacon, so it's friendly for vegetarians and omnivores alike. The only thing that takes any time is shredding the sprouts, which can be done with a sharp chef's knife, mandoline, or food processor with a slicing blade. You can do this up to a day ahead and store the shredded sprouts in the fridge.
The cooking part takes about 5 minutes and is ideally done just before serving time, although the sprouts may be served a room temperature as well. Brussels sprouts can sometimes seem heavy, but in this dish the texture is light, the smoked paprika satisfying but not overpowering, and the lemon a welcome counterpoint to all the rich foods on the holiday table.
Smoky, Lemony Sautéed Shredded Brussels Sprouts
Serves 4 (can be easily doubled)
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice (or more, to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Trim the ends off the Brussels sprouts. Peel off and discard any blemished outer leaves. Cut each Brussels sprout in half from top to bottom. Lay it flat and slice into fine shreds. (Can also shred Brussels sprouts using a mandoline or food processor fitted with a slicing blade.) Using your hands, fluff up the sprouts and separate the shreds.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add the garlic and paprika and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the Brussels sprouts and lemon zest and sauté until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Best served immediately, but may also be served at room temperature.
Make-ahead tip: Brussels sprouts may be shredded up to a day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.