As children, most of us didn’t care for brussels sprouts, and that’s conveying the disdain rather mildly. Rare was the kid who didn’t rank the vegetable high on the list of Most Hated Things in the World, right between homework (#8) and early bedtimes (#6).
Maybe, though, that’s because the greenery wasn’t cooked properly, or at least not up to its full potential. Stir-fried, as they are in today’s submission, brussels sprouts are nutty, mild, and they take on the great flavors with which they’re cooked. That, and the knowledge the sprouts are packed with all sorts of health benefits, have inspired many of us as adults to give them a second chance.
It’s a good thing, too, because Brussels Sprouts and Steak Stir-Fry attracted attention when Bon Appetit featured it in the 2014 recipe collection. Of course, there’s more to recommend the preparation than just a healthy (in more way than one) dose of the vegetable.
There are carrots, contributing bright color and a mild sweetness. Chili slices add a little zip, as do the garlic and scallions. Ginger plays its own game, bringing a spicy tingle. All is bathed in soy and in oyster sauces, which wraps the more assertive elements in a blanket of savory umami.
Above all, perhaps, is the steak, sliced thinly and across the grain, to make it wonderfully, almost meltingly, tender and moist. Plus, all those fantastic flavors soak right into the meat, making each bite a an intensely satisfying synopsis of all the recipe has to offer.
Also benefitting the brussels sprouts is that the leaves separate from the “head” as the greens cook, replacing the dense structure that challenges many a youngster with much more manageable portions. Maybe the vegetable repelled many an eight-year-old, but now that our ages have added another number in front of that “eight,” a newfound appreciation, well, sprouts.
Brussels Sprouts and Steak Stir-Fry
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (*1)
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, stem end cut off, and halved
- 8 ounces flank steak, sliced thinly across the grain
- salt, to taste
- 4 scallions, whites chopped and greens sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tablespoons ginger, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal
- 1 Fresno chili, thinly sliced
- steamed jasmine rice, for serving
In a small bowl, whisk together the oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and 1/4 cup of water. Set aside.
Place a wok over a medium-high flame. Add two tablespoons of the oil Add the brussels sprouts and cook, stirring occasionally until golden-brown, about four minutes. Cover and cook until crisp-tender, about three more minutes. Transfer sprouts to plate and wipe out the wok.
Season the steak with salt. Heat another tablespoon of the oil in the wok. When it begins to smoke, add the steak in a single layer. Cook until it begins to brown, about three minutes. Flip steak and cook on other side for 30 seconds. Transfer steak to the plate holding the brussels sprouts.
Pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the wok. Add the scallion whites, garlic and ginger and stir until fragrant, about a minute. Add the carrot and chilis and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are tender, about two minutes.
Return the brussels sprouts and the steak to the wok, and add the reserved sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about three minutes. Serve with steames rice and top with scallion greens.
1 – As with most wok cooking, I prefer to use peanut oil. Its taste better compliments Asian (or in this case, Asian-inspired) meals,