And to Think…


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.

NOTES:

1 – As with most wok cooking, I prefer to use peanut oil.  Its taste better compliments Asian (or in this case, Asian-inspired) meals,

45 thoughts on “And to Think…

    1. Thanks, Kate.

      Perhaps you haven’t come across a good preparation yet. Though I prefer them raw, as that maximizes the nutrition, pan-frying them in a little butter and garlic is quite nice too. Really brings out the nutty profile. Majorly tasty, actually. Might I suggest…?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How unfortunate.

        Oh, that’s right, you’re in Australia , and everything’s upside-down. That means what tastes good in the northern hemisphere isn’t so special where you are. I bet if you tried Brussels sprouts when you were in the UK, you’d be their biggest fan!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Your prerogative, Kate.

        I suppose Vegemite has scrambled your taste buds beyond redemption. Pity, particularly for someone who has excellent taste in so many other things.

        Call me a starry-eyed idealist, but I thought we could rescue you. I really did. Sigh…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Certainly, Kate, and if Hobo Joe is looking for smiles, let him fill his pockets, then stuff his belly until he falls into a contented slumber.

        However, if it’s frowns and grimness he’s after, hit the road, Jack. Better luck next time!

        Just realized how inapplicable the reference is to present-day “Stay in Place” circumstances. Still it makes sense in the happier times that once were, and will be again.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, for sure, Eliza!

      After all, recipes are just starting points, suggestions. Then it’s up to the cook to improvise, to innovate and to improve. In so doing, you add a personal touch to the recipes future generations will try.

      Who knows? We might be witnessing the very moment Steak and ??? Eliza was invented!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Adding some umami flavors to your Brussels sprouts, as you did here, is an A+ way to enjoy them! It’s funny how it has been so hard lately to find *frozen* Brussels sprouts in the stores here. Fresh ones are so much better and they can be easily frozen, if needed.

    Anyhoo, nice that you are getting your veggies in! This was a great post to see right after the holiday!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, your compliment means so much, Summer!

      Brussels sprouts are a winning entry in their many manifestations. I started enjoying them raw (a daily salad add-on and all), but recently, I’ve been a delighted explorer or the worlds the range-top has opened.

      Someone suggested that, if I can’t arrange grocery pick-up, maybe I’ll go without fresh fruits and veggies for a while. Um…no.

      I’m a guy, and a confirmed poultry/shellfish fiend, and as such, I never thought I’d write this but…I need my greens!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I could not agree more about needing the fresh fruits and veggies! I signed up for a Misfits Market subscription last month and I should be getting my first order later this week. This is my current plan for getting weekly fresh produce without shopping weekly. I’m hoping we like it!

        I’m thinking CSAs are another good option that would help with the less frequent store visits. I’d love to hear what solutions you end up with if you can’t get grocery pick-up.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Great idea, Summer! Naturally, I’m eager to hear what you think. Absolutely, fresh produce is non-negotiable!

        Of course, the ideal solution is to call up $30 million or so and use it buy a Wegman’s entirely for you and yours. For those of us more accustomed to using our minds than our wallets, though, many possibilities still exist. You’ve outlined a few of them right here and now, Summer. Way to take the smart way out!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Maybe the smart way out… my order was supposed to arrive today but isn’t here yet. 😦 Luckily we have lots of frozen produce to hold us over if we have to wait a few more days.

        Oh, how I would love to have a personal Wegman’s. Quite a dream. Hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Right?

        Plus, if you have the money to buy a Wegman’s, you also probably can afford to have it moved to your neighborhood. In fact, plop it down in front of your neighbor’s house. They aren’t particularly nice people anyway, so no loss there.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Let the kids see what good food is all about, Summer. Show them what you can do with it, and how it can make life an amazing journey with it. Thus, they’ll be curious for more.

        Lesson completed. Consider Wegman’s to be their graduation gift. And you’re teaching the post-grad honors course/

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I know this was said in jest but there are grocery store RDs doing store tours and classes… what better place to teach basic nutrition? I think Wegman’s has some RDs on staff actually. That would be a pretty great place to work!

        Then again, I’d probably end up spending more than I make. I did a tasting session with cool exotic fruits from Wegman’s once and spent far too much. lol

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I’m jealous, Summer!

        Despite this suburb being upper-middle-class, and its residents being, on the whole, younger and better-educated than average, we’re still a little leery of anything beyond “meat-and-potatoes.”

        Back in pre-social distancing days, when store employees still handed out samples, only once did I get to try anything remotely “exotic,” namely, starfruit. My subsequent purchase obviously was insufficient, for they never dared showcase anything so “bold” again. Pity.

        You’re so right about Wegman’s, Summer. It’s just as well there isn’t one nearby, or I’d spend $350 a week there on groceries. And working there? Good Lord. Even with an employee discount, if I had access behind the scenes, and could get at what they unloaded from the trucks, before the public got its grubby hands on it, I’d be dropping four figures a week.

        Sure, I’d be bankrupt in a few months, but what a way to send off financial solvency!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Crystal!

      Simultaneous, perhaps, with aroma, a dish’s appearance announces its presence and entices the diner well before the fork leaves the napkin..

      Animals eat what’s in front of them, inhaling nutrition as a means of survival. With us, though, there’s an element of seduction, of delight. A good dish plays on these elements and makes the experience memorable.

      See? I knew there was a benefit to this whole “civilization” thing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Much appreciated, Saania! I’m a relative newbie at cooking Brussels sprouts, though the experience has encouraged me to consider future experimentation.

      Oh, and thanks so much for your interest. Always love meeting a new person!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Both mean so much, Saania!

        Hard to believe, not too long ago, viewership was scattered among friends and relatives, and it was dwindling.

        Then, the first “outsider” stumbled across these pages, then two or three more. You’ve sparked new life and enthusiasm, and your continued interest, and the discussions they inspire, influence future plans.

        Thanks again for making this possible, Saania. I think you’re going to like what awaits.

        Like

  2. A bad habit I learned from my father is that if you put enough butter on a vegetable it will always be good. My mother’s answer to that was to add a little flour and milk to the butter to make a white sauce…. this recipe sounds healthier and more interesting. I’ve come to like brussels sprouts whether in a salad or a stir-fry. Adds a lot of flavor and depth. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It does for sure, JoAnn!

      I definitely am a Johnny-Come-Lately to the sprouts, as I only got into them as an adult, though I’m making up for lost time.

      Your buttery legacy may not be entirely misplaced, because Brussels sprouts sauteed in a little butter (or peanut oil)…superb! Surprisingly (and delightfully) nutty this way.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Monica! Sprouts would be pretty awesome with bacon, but then, what wouldn’t be?

      Most of the time though, I just eat them raw – on top of salads, that is. Just cut off the stem end, and it separates into individual leaves.

      Getting back to your preparation, though, do you include anything other than the veg and the bacon? I ask only because the combination would be even more delectable (if such a thing were possible) drizzled with honey-mustard.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Much appreciated, Monica! I must admit, the honey-mustard idea was a “ringer,” as I tried it before and felt it was worth an encore. Still, the bacon is all you, and I think it’d be a splendid addition!

        Liked by 1 person

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