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Shredded Chic? Brussels Sprouts Made Trendy

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Although I have an effusing love for all winter vegetables, the historically picked-on Brussels sprout holds a special place in my heart. Neither cucurbita nor root vegetable, this stand-alone guy needs someone to have its back! Correction: needed. Now, a new preparation for the sidelined vegetable has elevated its status to most popular at the table.

Whether the thin crispy shreds are generated by mandoline or sliced by hand, the hash-like consistency of a shredded Brussels sprouts has suddenly become cool, reassigning its traditional whole-baked preparation to an old and farty distant cousin. And topped with a fried egg? Could not be trendier. These shredded sprouts are popping up all over New York City on brunch and dinner menus alike.

So, what's so wonderful about these tiny (and now established, shredded chic) cabbages? They're nuanced with flavor subtleties, perfected in this Crispy Brussels Sprout Hash with Cider Glaze dish. The brilliance of this recipe lies in the flavors that you only just taste -- a slightly nutty Brussels sprout, a barely there warmth from a toasted hazelnut, a tangy apple punch that's tempered by the bitter sprout. Each bite unmasks an enchanting conduit of complementary tastes, carefully crafted. But chew slowly, or it might pass you by.

The reduced cider glaze is so enticing; it's hard to resist drinking the leftovers by the spoonful. I recommend saving it for the next time you oven-roast vegetables. Using apples two ways, the hearty cider glaze ads a signature caramelized sweetness -- and shout out to autumn's favorite fruit. If you have access to the NYC Greenmarket, I highly recommend using Red Jacket Orchard's Spiced Apple Cider. Cold-pressed, unfiltered and sans added sugar, the fresh juice is about as close to eating whole fruit as you can get. Plus, the mulling spices add wonderful subtle hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

While the word "hash" usually immediately conjures an association with "unhealthy," this recipe is quite the opposite. When it comes to nutrients, Brussels sprouts earn an A+. Containing sulforaphane (hello anti-cancer properties), vitamin C (goodbye oxidative stress), plus good sources of dietary fiber, vitamin A, folate, potassium and manganese, whether you're eating this dish for breakfast or as a main meal side, know you're starting off on the right foot.


Crispy Brussels Sprout Hash with Cider Glaze (from Clean Plates)
Serves 4

1¼ pounds Brussels sprouts, shaved on a mandoline or thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups apple cider
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ shallot, sliced into rings
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly cracked black pepper
½ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
Optional: fried egg (1 per serving)

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. Divide sprouts evenly between baking sheets. Drizzle olive oil over all; sprinkle with salt. Toss sprouts to coat, then spread in single layer.
2. Roast sprouts until edges are brown and crispy, stirring occasionally, about 25 to 30 minutes, rotating baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through.
3. Meanwhile, combine cider, vinegar and shallot in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; cook until liquid is reduced to about ½ cup and is thick and foamy when tilted, about 30 minutes. Stir in honey and cook five minutes longer. Glaze will be thin; it will not look like syrup. Strain through fine mesh sieve; discard shallot (optional.) Add black pepper to taste.
4. Remove sprouts from oven; drizzle evenly with glaze. Return spouts to oven; continue roasting until glaze is bubbly and thickened, about 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, toast hazelnuts in single layer in medium skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about three minutes.
6. In serving bowl, combine glazed sprouts and toasted hazelnuts. Grind additional black pepper over top and serve. Top with fried egg, if desired.

This recipe hails from Clean Plates. What is it? Think Zagat's with a healthy twist. On a mission to equip New Yorkers with a direct link to the most sustainable restaurants in NYC, Clean Plates rates restaurants by both the taste of their food and the quality of their ingredients.