Tame your bitter vegetables by playing rough with them
Charred Brussels Sprouts

Charred Brussels Sprouts

25 minutes

4 Servings

Done well, roasted Brussels sprouts shine with a balance of sweet and savory. But nailing that perfect balance calls for a long stay in a hot oven. And even then, the results can disappoint. Pile too many sprouts in the pan and they steam, turning mushy and dull. Let them go too long and they get dry and bitter. We wanted better, more reliable results, and in much less time. We found an answer in the charred Brussels sprouts at Gjelina (Chef Travis Lett’s Los Angeles restaurant). They get a rough, almost steak-like treatment. Using a cast-iron skillet allowed Lett to achieve in minutes what normally took us a half-hour or more in an oven. A well-seasoned cast-iron pan was key to this recipe, and to comfortably accommodate the sprouts, the pan needed to be at least 12 inches in diameter. Tossing the sprouts with oil and a little honey before cooking prevented them from drying out and toughening in the hot pan. Small and medium sprouts tasted better than large sprouts, which retain more bitter bite.

Charred Brussels Sprouts

Get Ready to Cook

4

Servings

25 minutes

Tip

Don’t omit the anchovies. You may not like them on their own, and they may smell fishy, but as they cook they fade into a rich, salty background flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1

    pound small to medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

  • 4

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4

    teaspoons honey

  • Kosher salt

  • 4

    garlic cloves, minced

  • 4

    anchovy fillets, minced

  • Red pepper flakes

  • 2

    teaspoons lemon juice

Step 1 of 4

Prepare the Sprouts

1
​tablespoon of oil
2
​teaspoons of honey
​½
​teaspoon of salt

In a large bowl, toss the sprouts with 1 tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons of honey and ½ teaspoon of salt. Set aside.

Step 2 of 4

Cook the Garlic Mixture

3
​tablespoon of oil
4
garlic cloves, minced
4
anchovy fillets, minced
¼
teaspoon of pepper flakes

In a 12- to 14-inch cast-iron skillet, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, the garlic, anchovies and ¼ teaspoon of pepper flakes.


Set over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to color, 3 to 4 minutes.


Scrape the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Step 3 of 4

Cook the Sprouts

1
pound small to medium Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

Return the skillet to high heat. Add the sprouts (reserve the bowl) and use tongs to arrange them cut-side down in a single layer. Cook, without moving, until deeply browned and blackened in spots, 3 to 7 minutes, depending on your skillet.


Use the tongs to flip the sprouts cut-side up and cook until charred and just tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Step 4 of 4

Combine Sprouts and Garlic Mixture

2
​teaspoons of honey
2
​teaspoons of lemon juice
salt and pepper flakes

As they finish, return the sprouts to the bowl and toss with the garlic mixture, the remaining 2 teaspoons of honey and the lemon juice.


Season with salt and pepper flakes.

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