Maury Rubin's Cranberry, Caramel and Almond Tart
Maggie Barrett's Ribollita di Luana

Michael Romano and Danny Meyer's Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Zest


I'm not going to do five separate posts on Thanksgiving, because I did that last year, and frankly, I found it tiring. And after all, now that Thanksgiving is over, your eyes are probably glazing over at the thought of contemplating someone else's holiday table. But since we did make one real keeper, a classic, something that should grace your table at least once a month (or at least mine) from here on out, I can't help but tell you about it.

The recipe comes from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook and was excerpted in Julia Moskin's side dish article from a few weeks ago. Molly blogged about a version with poppyseeds last year. And luckily, Ben's mother - the hostess of our Thanksgiving feast this year - was as enthusiastic about serving it as I was.

It's an easy thing, since you can prepare the washed and sliced sprouts earlier in the day, dress them with lemon juice and let them sit in the fridge while your turkey roasts and you begin to freak out about whether or not that damn temperature thingy will ever pop and if your gravy will ever measure up to your stepmother's and why-oh-why most kitchens don't come equipped with at least three ovens, because life could be so much easier that way, don't you agree?

Then, just before serving, you heat some oil in a pan and saute the lemony sprouts along with some fragrant mustard seeds and garlic before dousing the pan with white wine. The whole cooking part takes about 5 minutes. Which is perfect, because right before serving is when all hell breaks loose, the kitchen fills with hungry guests, the turkey pops, the gravy comes together, knives are brandished, wine is opened, and you can, at least, breathe easy knowing that your Brussels sprouts will be a revelation.

A forkful of these combined with a mouthful of mashed potatoes (I made these this year, which were...fine) soused with rich gravy is a pretty great way to start Thanksgiving. And it's a flexible dish, too. Warmed in a pan and eaten two days later, they were still pretty delicious. A tad more sulfury, but tasty nevertheless. Cabbage and mustard are fine bedfellows indeed.

(We also made Deborah Madison's Swiss Chard with Pickled Red Onions from Moskin's article, and though it was a sparkly little dish - those onions are puckery! - it's better suited for a summer table, alongside a freshly grilled bird or something. At Thanksgiving, it was a little too bright and shiny. Do you know what I mean?)

Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Zest
Makes 10 servings

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus grated zest of 1 lemon
2 pounds brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons black mustard seeds or poppy seeds
¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste. 

1. Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Cut bottoms off sprouts, and discard. Halve sprouts lengthwise, and thinly slice them crosswise. The slices toward the stem end should be thinner, to help pieces cook evenly. As you work, transfer slices into bowl with lemon juice. When all sprouts are sliced toss them in juice and separate leaves. (Recipe can be prepared to this point and refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 hours.)

2. When ready to serve, heat oil and butter over high heat in a skillet large enough to hold all sprouts. When very hot add sprouts, garlic and seeds, and cook, stirring often, until sprouts are wilted and lightly cooked, but still bright green and crisp, about 4 minutes. Some leaves might brown slightly.

3. Add wine, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Turn off heat, add salt and pepper to taste and stir in the lemon zest, reserving a little for top of dish. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with remaining zest and serve.