I refuse to show you what I made with the riches of Brussels sprouts that My Beloved brought home for dinner from Monterey. It's so ugly, I'm saving it for the Ugly Food Photo contest I'll be running again this year. I'm sure to win my own prize.
Instead, I'll just show you how it started. It began with this wonderful pile of fresh sprouts, which My Beloved brought home on the stalk. I twisted them off and bagged them for the fridge, but I kept out enough for a really, really large serving of this. Cream braised Brussels sprouts - my mouth was watering as I looked up the recipe.
Except, as frequently seems to be the case with me, I didn't have all the ingredients for what I was hoping to make. I could have made a dash to the store for heavy cream but, as you've probably noticed, I'm more about making do with whatever is on hand.
I did have half-and-half and lemon juice, lovely sprouts and sea salt - that's all the recipe calls for - it couldn't be simpler. And I did have a little tub of crême fraîche, so I thought that if I mixed some half-and-half with some crême fraîche, it would approximate heavy cream, right? Well, not exactly.
My problem is that I let the whole simmering thing go on at slightly too high a heat, so the "sauce" turned all cottage-cheesy on me, coating the sprouts not with a smooth sheen of golden cream as Molly's recipe promised but with a bumpy layer that reminded me forcibly of what comes out of my grandson when he is burped after nursing. Not exactly appetizing.
However, I'm a stalwart and I had my taste buds all set for cream-braised sprouts, so I served them anyway and they were spectacularly sweet and delicious. The cream gentles any bitterness and the slow braise brings out the latent sweetness in those little green wedges. If you are one like My Beloved who is a skeptic about Brussels sprouts, try these and you will be converted, I promise. I liked the addition of the crême fraîche - I like anything that adds richness and a little tang - but I'd be happy as a clam to go back to heavy cream next time, too. Either one turns this winter wealth into a dreamy dish.
Labels: Brussels sprouts