Sprouts, Nuts…Action!

brussels-sprouts-with-almonds-pearl-onionsSautéed Brussels Sprouts & Pearl Onions

Great side dishes don’t just taste good, they have the potential to push past their sideline spots to become the main dish. In fact, side dishes are a great way to make use of leftovers, because it’s easy to combine already-cooked vegetables, grains, or meat with freshly cooked ones to create an entirely new meal. This dish, for example, is surprisingly versatile – it could be tossed with pasta, served alongside chicken or beef, or even scrambled into eggs. Really, about the only thing I wouldn’t combine it with would be ice cream…although seeing as Brussels sprouts are traditionally served with a cream-based sauce, ice cream might not be too far off the culinary mark, after all.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts & Pearl Onions with Toasted Almonds

This is very much a flavor-as-you-wish dish, so how many almonds you toast and how much cheese you use is up to you. I made nearly equal amounts of Brussels sprouts and onions, but if you’re a bigger fan of sprouts than onions (or vice versa), feel free to tip the balance in favor of your taste buds.

Extra-virgin olive oil

Brussels sprouts, outer-most layers removed and ends trimmed, cut into halves

Pearl onions, peeled and ends trimmed

Sliced almonds

Grated Parmesan or other hard, aged cheese

Dash of ground nutmeg

Drizzle enough oil into a large saucepan to barely cover the bottom, then place over medium-low heat for 1 minute to warm up the oil. Place the sprout halves flat-side-down on the pan – arranging them so that each half is touching the surface – and add the pearl onions. Cover the pan and let the sprouts and onions cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Shake the pan to make sure that they aren’t sticking, then turn down the heat to low and cook them for another 5 minutes.

While the sprouts and onions are cooking, toast the almonds: place a small pan over medium-low heat for 1 minute, then add the almonds to the dry pan and heat them until they’re fragrant and lightly browned. You can occasionally flip them, but I think it’s easiest to just let them sit for a few minutes and keep your nose attuned to the scent of them toasting. (Flip a few to check them, of course.) As soon as they’re nicely browned, slide the almonds out of the pan onto a holding plate.

Serve sautéed sprouts and onions with sprinkling of toasted almonds, a spoonful or two of grated Parmesan, and a dash of nutmeg. Thanks to the buttery flavor of the sprouts and the deep nuttiness of the toasted almonds, this dish can stand alone as a light course or you can make it part of a bigger meal. Either way, if you have any leftovers, they’re nearly as delicious reheated as they were out of the original pan. And since all of the ingredients are fairly nonperishable (Parmesan, onions, and almonds last for a month when refrigerated, and even Brussels sprouts can hang out in your fridge for a good two weeks), you can keep the makings for this easy dish on hand for last-minute meals and inspirations.

Enjoy!

courtesy of: www.theculturedcook.com

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