Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Capers

After three dessert posts in a row (and chili dogs before that!), I feel like I should post some vegetables.  Sure, these were fried vegetables, but they are healthy green veggies nonetheless.  So here they are!

If you were watching food TV a couple of years ago, chances are you probably saw Michael Symon debut these on some television show.  I saw it twice, once on the Rachael Ray Show and another on a Food Network special. And if I can be completely frank with you, I thought they looked a little weird, I think because I’m relatively new to the wonderful world of Brussels sprouts, and no that wasn’t a sarcastic statement. There really is a wonderful world of Brussels sprouts.

I absolutely despised Brussels sprouts as a kid, and it took me awhile to warm up to them.  But now, they are one of my favorite green veggies and I love to eat them all autumn long.  I test drove this recipe thinking it might work for a Thanksgiving side dish, and I’ve concluded that yes, it definitely would! They would be especially terrific for someone like me who does not have a double oven (sigh), because these are done entirely on the stovetop.  You should be warned, however, that these sprouts like to spit daggers when they hit the hot oil, so STAND BACK!

But they are so, so, so good, so worth the mess they create.  The oil curls the outer leaves and softens the core, and then you toss them in that flavorful Mediterranean-inspired vinaigrette with the honey and anchovies and nuts, and it’s just heaven in your mouth.  They taste very light for something deep-fried.  The only change I made was to insert pecans where the original recipe called for walnuts.  And typing that, I just realized I am getting to be a broken record in that respect.  Geez, I always sub in pecans when a recipe calls for walnuts!  Alright, one of these days, I will make a recipe just to leave the walnuts in.

Source: adapted from Live to Cook, by Michael Symon

Canola oil, for deep-frying
1 garlic clove, minced
4 oil-packed anchovies, patted dry and chopped
1 red fresno chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbs honey
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tbs capers, drained and patted dry
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Pour enough oil into a medium pot so that the oil comes 3 inches up the sides. Heat the oil to 350 F.
Make the vinaigrette: in a large bowl, add the garlic, anchovies, chile, vinegar, honey, scallions, pecans, and olive oil. Use a fork to mash up the anchovies, then whisk everything together. Keep the bowl near the stovetop.
Working in batches, deep-fry the Brussels sprouts until the edges begin to curl and brown, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels briefly, then add to the bowl with the vinaigrette.
To the last batch, add the parsley and capers. Give the contents of the pot a stir. When the color of the parsley becomes a deeper shade of green, about 1 minute, remove the contents of the pot with a skimmer and place directly into the bowl of dressing. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

7 responses to “Fried Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Capers

  1. I made this years ago and it was so.darn.good. I need to make them again soon!

  2. This looks SO yummy. I need to try this next week!! I’m not sure about the anchovy. Could something be subbed?

    • Texan New Yorker

      No, you absolutely may not omit or sub anything for the anchovies, if you do you will be struck by lightening! Okay, maybe not, that’s a joke :), but I would highly recommend leaving them in. You could use about 2 tsp anchovy paste if you don’t like the little fishies. But it won’t taste fishy, I promise. And everyone actually does like anchovies – they are in Caesar dressing and Worcestershire sauce. So just think of it that way! The dish is so tasty.

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