Growing up, my family had several recipes that appeared at every holiday feast, none of which I will be sharing with you. Not because they are particularly good, or something I keep close to the vest, but because they are all dishes that are outdated in style, and frankly unhealthy. I have distinct memories of visiting my great-aunt’s house in central Kansas. Even in the early ’90s they would still serve things called “Jello salad” that contained cream cheese, canned fruit, canned beans and mushrooms (really anything out of a can). Pour these concoctions into a pound cake mold with some flavored gelatin, and like magic you have dishes like the infamous “Under the Sea Pear Salad.” Nothing seemed off limits in these gelatin creations — canned olives, even canned fish. There were casseroles mounded with frozen vegetables, Velveeta, and butter-toasted Ritz crackers. The ironic thing is we were deep in the heart of farm country, buy fresh vegetables were never on the table. All of the farming in that area was commodity grains, soy, and sunflower by the time I was a kid.
These days we spend Thanksgiving with my wife’s family in central Massachusetts, or the “Metro West,” if you are my wife. Several years ago, I was asked to prepare some Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving dinner. Every Thanksgiving since, I have been asked to cook Brussels sprouts. Christmas came, and I was asked to cook more Brussels sprouts. Now I cook Brussels sprouts for every family holiday. In an effort to keep things interesting, I often prepare them in different ways. If you would like to try something a little different at your holiday feast this year, this recipe went over well, and I have been asked to share it several times.
Ginger Brussels Sprouts
1 lb. Brussels sprouts (ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise)
3-inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled and diced small)
3 Tbsp. Coconut Amino (or substitute low-sodium tamari)
1-2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
(Optional toppings: lime zest, sesame seeds, cilantro, lime juice)
Preheat oven to 375°F degrees. Coat a large, heavy skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot, place Brussels sprouts, cut side down, in the pan. Sprinkle with salt. Allow sprouts to brown before stirring. (If you have a small heating element, you may need to move the sprouts around the pan to make sure they all brown evenly.)
Add fresh ginger, then stir pan. Cook until aromatic (30 to 60 seconds). Add rice vinegar, Coconut Amino, and honey. Stir pan to coat all of the Brussels sprouts evenly.
Move skillet to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes; sprouts should be tender but firm.
Serve with desired toppings.