As I was preparing this dish for dinner, my sister and brother-in-law flatly informed me – “We’re not going to like it. We hate brussel sprouts.” I proceeded to lecture them that the brussel spout flavor they and so many others loved to hate is actually the result of over-cooking, and that I was sure they would love this dish. They did not believe me, and we almost got into a shouting match when I tried to push the point.
You know, of course, how this story ends. Yes! Two more converts to Brussel Sprouts!
Brussel Sprouts Gratin with Pine Nuts and Breadcrumb Topping
This recipe beats my previous fave preparation of sprouts. It’s a modification of a recipe from Bon Appetit that also includes cauliflower. I left the cauliflower out, seeing no need to have to confront the cauliflower haters as well. I use homemade bread crumbs in this recipe. If you use store bought, toast them up in a pan with some olive oil before combining with the pine nuts.
This dish can be assembled beforehand, covered with foil and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking. Increase bake time to 45 minutes if going straight from the fridge to the oven.
3 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed, quartered lengthwise
2 3/4 cups heavy cream or half and half
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup homemade breadcrumbs
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Cook brussels sprouts in large pot of salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain. Transfer sprouts to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well.
Combine cream, shallots, and sage in large saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until mixture is reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.
Combine breadcrumbs, pine nuts and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. (Seasoning not needed if you use seasoned homemade crumbs as I do.)
Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish; arrange half of vegetables in dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then 1 1/2 cups Parmesan. Arrange remaining vegetables evenly over, then sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups Parmesan. Pour cream mixture evenly over. (Can be made ahead up to this point.)
Cover gratin with foil. Bake covered 40 minutes at 375 degrees fahrenheit. Uncover; sprinkle breadcrumb topping over and bake uncovered 15 minutes longer.