Asma’s Brussel Sprouts

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My friend Asma brought this dish to a book club party a few years ago.  I have never seen brussel sprouts be elevated to rock star status, but they were that night.  If you are not eating brussel sprouts, I have to insist you try them again.  Forget the mushy, smelly mess of your childhood.  Now think complex, nutty, roasted goodness instead.  This recipe takes that one step further by making a little crunchy topping for them.  I have adapted Asma’s recipe and feel free to do the same.   Also, feel free to only do parts of it.  Sometimes I just do the topping and skip the dressing.   Oh, and don’t be intimidated that there are 3 parts to this recipe.  You can make the dressing and topping while the brussel sprouts are roasting and still have time left over.

I know brussel sprouts are more of a winter vegetable, but since spring is taking soooo long to come around, brussel sprouts are still looking like good options to me in the grocery stores these days!

Ingredients:

2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trim the bottom and halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For dressing
1/4 cup soy sauce
Lemongrass, thinly sliced and soaked in soy sauce, optional
1/4 cup water
pinch of red chili powder
2 T finely chopped mint
2 T finely chopped cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1 1/2-inch) fresh red Thai chili, thinly sliced crosswise, including seeds
Lemon or lime for taste

For puffed rice
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil (I do a pinch more just to make it easier)
1/4 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
1/2 cup crisp rice cereal such as Rice Krispies

Roast brussels sprouts:
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Put down some parchment paper on a backing sheet or preheat your cast iron skillet in the oven.  Put the brussel sprouts in the pan and toss with oil.  Arrange in a single layer, cut side down and spaced out as much as possible.  Bake for 20-30 min until they turning brown and the cut sides look nice and toasted.  While the brussel sprouts roast, make the other 2 parts.

For the dressing:
Stir together all dressing ingredients.  Taste it to make sure it tastes good.  Adjust any flavors to suit you.

For the topping:
Heat the oil over medium heat in a small frying pan.  Mix in the spices until you start smelling them, then add in the Rice Krispies, stirring constantly.  When the Rice Krispies are coated and begin to turn a golden color, about 3 minutes, transfer to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally.

Finish dish:
Put Brussels sprouts in a serving bowl, then toss with just enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle with puffed rice and serve remaining dressing on the side.

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