By Chef Akhtar Nawab – New York, NY
Sirloin, Confit Brussels Sprouts, Bone Marrow Custard
Poached Guinea Hen with Brussels Fondue & Sauteed Chicken
Smoked and Grilled Spanish Mackerel, Beet Bouillon,
and Brussels Sprouts
As with most vegetables, there are plenty of cautionary
tales surrounding the proper way to cook a Brussels sprout.
Some argue a quick blast at high temperature, others a long
cooking at a low temperature. Many blame immersion in water
for the sprout's sometimes off putting smell, others blame
It's all nonsense.
It's the sprout's high levels of glucosinolates,
bitter flavor compounds, that are responsible for the vegetable's
bad reputation. And these develop regardless of the length
of cooking, or the method. However, the sprout's flavor components
are concentrated in the center and can be fought off with
proper cooking. Harold McGee suggests halving the sprouts
and boiling them in a large pot of water to leach out the
sinigrin and bitter thyocyanate.
After a scrub and a quick boil, the little
bitterness remaining can work to balance a sweet or acidic
dish without overpowering it. The agreeable sprout is ready
to bend to the authority of Chef Nawab in a long bath of duck
fat with bone marrow custard, a rich, chicken liver gratin,
and a simple roast with buttermilk-coated guinea hen.