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Friday, January 8, 2010

Caramelized Onions and Brussel Sprouts

So, I've been on a brussel sprouts kick lately. I don't know if you have this problem, but I find that I get on kicks with certain foods where I will eat the heck out of them for a short period of time and then move on. I guess I should be grateful that this time, I'm stuck on a food that is at least healthy. I tell you, it's rough when I get on my cake kicks... or cookie kicks... or pasta kicks. Well, you get the idea.

This time, though, I've gotten stuck on a food I never really ate much before. I did try growing them once, but that was an unmitigated disaster. I guess if you want to let your brussel sprouts "sweeten" through a couple of frosts, you shouldn't plant them so early. They were ready in mid-August. Yuck! Boy were they bitter.

Fortunately, the ones you get at the store are typically pretty good. I've tried them a variety of ways recently, but tonight's variation is hands down my favorite. Of course, you can't really go wrong when caramelized onions are involved, now, can you?

I was only cooking for myself tonight, so I used one medium onion and sliced it fairly thin. I like to start my onions with a bit of heat to get them going and then turn them way down to finish. I put a pan over medium-high heat and melted a tablespoon of butter in it. I added the onions and cooked, stirring frequently until they were soft and starting to brown a bit.

At this point, I added a pinch of salt and turned the heat down to medium-low. After a few minutes, I added cleaned and quartered brussel sprouts. To clean the sprouts, I washed them, trimmed the stem, and then peeled back any leaves that were not clean and fresh looking. I threw the cut sprouts into the pan and let them hang out with the onions over medium-low heat until they started to brown, too. At some point along the way, I added some fresh ground pepper.

Then, to help the sprouts get tender through, I put a lid over the pan, but left it cocked just slightly to let some of the steam escape.

When the sprouts were tender through and nicely browned, I turned off the heat and added a teaspoon of butter. I served myself a nice little pile and shredded some Parmigiano Reggiano on top. The flavor profile was spectacular. The cheese added a wonderful nuttiness to the sweet onions and earthy goodness of these cute little vegetables. Be sure you get a bit of everything in every bite!

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