Alison's Lunch

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brussels sprouts with mustard & caper sauce

brussels sprouts with mustard & caper sauce

This is my favorite recipe for brussels sprouts, and I love it so much that I make it all winter with sprouts from the grocery store after our Alaskan season is over. This sauce is great on vegetables other than Brussels sprouts, too! I’ve used it with great success on broccoli and cauliflower. It’s based on a recipe from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors.

I love to use a micro-plane zester for the lemons—it’s very easy, and the pieces of zest are thin and fine and perfect to eat, even in a raw dressing like this.

I invented this recipe as a way to use some of the garlic oil left over when poaching the garlic for our Alaskan cheese and garlic bread. If you don’t want to make garlic oil, you can use plain extra-virgin olive oil or butter.

2 garlic cloves
sea salt and fresh-ground pepper
2 tablespoons garlic oil (see following recipes), extra-virgin olive oil, or softened butter
1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup rinsed and drained capers
grated zest of a lemon
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 pounds brussels sprouts

1. To make the sauce, press the garlic (or mince very fine) into a large bowl and, using a fork, mash it with ½ teaspoon salt. Then stir in the oil or butter and add the mustard, capers, lemon zest, and parsley.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. While the water is heating, trim the bases of the sprouts and slice them in half, or, if large, into quarters.
3. Add the brussels sprouts to the water and cook for 5-8 minutes, testing every minute after 5 minutes, until the cores of the largest sprouts are tender but not mushy. Pour the sprouts into a colander, shake off excess water, and immediately spread them out on a baking sheet spread with a dishtowel. (This allows the extra water to evaporate, so the sauce doesn’t get watery, and the sprouts stop cooking almost immediately, ensuring a perfectly-cooked sprout.)
4. When cooled a bit, toss the sprouts with the mustard-caper sauce. Taste for salt, season with pepper, and toss again.

simple garlic oil
Mash or mince 3 or 4 garlic cloves and cover with ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil. Let steep for 30 minutes if you have time. Strain out the garlic and store the oil in the refrigerator.

olive oil infused with sweet, slow-cooked garlic
This is a recipe for the garlic and olive oil that I make for our Alaskan cheese & roasted garlic bread. The garlic is sweet and soft and luscious, and the resulting oil has wonderful, mellow flavor that is intensely garlicky at the same time. Keep it refrigerated. It’ll solidify in the refrigerator, but just scoop out a spoonful and let it come to room temperature, and it’ll be perfectly good.

In addition to making this recipe with the Brussels sprouts, what I usually do with this oil is preheat the oven to 400 degrees, toss a couple of tablespoons of garlic oil into a big bowl of diced vegetables: raw potatoes, or broccoli, or mushrooms, for example, add a little salt, toss well, and then pour them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet that I’ve coated with cooking spray. Roast until brown and crispy and tender and wonderful. The timing will vary depending on the vegetable. See specific recipes for roasted broccoli, roasted potatoes, and roasted mushrooms on the South Anchorage Farmers Market website.

And then, what do you do with the garlic? Well, just use it in anything that calls for roasted garlic! Spread it on toast, put it in salad dressings or hummus, or mash it with a fork and add it to a soup or a stew that needs a little perking up. I keep it in a pint jar in the freezer or refrigerator, ready to use anytime!

several heads of garlic, cloves peeled
olive oil (you don’t need extra-virgin olive oil for this—the garlic imparts so much flavor that you can use regular olive oil)

1. Put all the whole peeled garlic cloves in a heavy pot. Cover the garlic cloves completely with olive oil.
2. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Give the garlic a stir, and then turn the heat down to the absolute lowest possible heat, cover the pot, and simmer just at a bare bubble. Stir the garlic occasionally and continue to cook until the garlic cloves are completely soft and tender, and you can easily squish them against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. This will probably take an hour or more, but check after 45 minutes.
3. Uncover the pot and let cool. Strain the garlic from the oil. This garlic can be used in any recipe that calls for roasted garlic. You can freeze the garlic indefinitely (I keep it in pint-sized canning jars in the freezer), and just take it out when you need it.