What's happened to Brussels sprouts may be one of the best food moments of the 21st century. No more boiling them into cabbage-y oblivion. We love roasting them, for good reason — time in a hot oven reveals Brussels sprouts to be remarkably nutty, earthy, sweet, and versatile.
Pomegranate Molasses Is the New Balsamic Vinegar
If you're like me and can't get enough roasted sprouts, you already know how great they are with balsamic vinegar. Meet my new best friend: pomegranate molasses, the Middle Eastern equivalent. Especially appreciated in Lebanon and Iran, the super-tart dark syrup is a lot less expensive than real aceto di balsamico tradizionale; just be sure to buy molasses made from 100 percent pomegranate juice.
But why stop there? Meet my other new bestie: fresh shanklish (there's also an aged version preserved in olive oil). The Middle Eastern combo of thick labneh seasoned with za'atar and Aleppo pepper makes a transcendent dipping sauce for the glazed Brussels sprouts. Think: new-age cocktail snack. I first discovered the shanklish made by The White Moustache, a small-batch yogurt producer in Brooklyn, but it's easy enough to whip up your own. (You can just skip the shanklish if you are looking for a pareve/vegan version.)
A Secret for Even Better Brussels Sprouts
One last thing: The secret to great roasted Brussels sprouts is to blanch them first, which can even be done a day or two ahead. This may seem like a fancy-pants extra step, but the water plumps their little cells so they crisp, caramelize, and roast to tenderness without becoming leathery.
This recipe is a great way to dress up roasted Brussels sprouts. I love how the pomegranate molasses sweetly cuts through the earthiness of the sprouts; there's a nice crunch from the walnuts, and the shanklish offers a creamy counterpoint for dipping. Labneh, a fresh cheese made from strained yogurt, was also such a great ingredient that I'd never had before — I dipped pita chips in the shanklish for a nice snack the next day!
- Christine, December 2015
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Walnuts, Pomegranate Molasses & Shanklish
1 cup (100 grams) walnut halves, toasted
1 cup (225 grams ) Shanklish (recipe follows)
For the shanklish:
2 cups (450 grams) labneh, homemade or store-bought
1 tablespoon za'atar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper
1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Brussels sprouts:
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Boil the Brussels sprouts in salted water or steam them over salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and dry thoroughly on paper towels or dish towels. (This step can be done a day ahead; store covered in the refrigerator.) On a large baking sheet, toss the sprouts with the olive oil, season them with salt and pepper, and spread them evenly over the baking sheet.
Roast the Brussels sprouts, shaking the pan halfway through the cooking, until they are tender, browned in places, and any loose leaves are crisped, about 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, drizzle 2 tablespoons of the molasses over the sprouts, toss, and return the sprouts to the oven for about 5 minutes to glaze.
Remove from the oven and scrape the Brussels sprouts and any juices onto a serving platter. Scatter the walnuts over and around the sprouts, season with additional salt, and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons molasses. Top with a large dollop or two of shanklish and serve the remaining sauce in a bowl alongside.
For the shanklish:
In a bowl, combine the labneh, za'atar, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir to mix. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving. Taste and adjust with more Aleppo pepper and salt if needed. The shanklish will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- For a pareve/vegan version of this recipe, omit the shanklish.
Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman, copyright (c) 2015. Published by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.