Fire Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fennel and Prosciutto

"Brussels sprouts are misunderstood – probably because most people don’t know how to cook them properly."Chef Todd English

It used to be that Brussels sprouts were the bane of every child’s existence. Boiled or steamed into submission, these mushy, brownish-green blobs smelled so foul that even the dog wouldn’t touch them.

But like all fresh vegetables, a simple change in cooking technique can quickly elevate their status at the dinner table. Dry, high-heat cooking is the key. That keeps the sprouts from releasing too much bad-smelling sulfur. When you quickly roast Brussels sprouts in an oven, in a skillet, or on the grill, they stay crisp-tender and develop a sweet, caramelized flavor with none of the sulfurous odor.

Fresh fennel also plays a big role in this recipe. The roasting process mellows its licorice flavor, leaving behind a subtle brightness that complements the Brussels sprouts.

I like to halve the sprouts, toss them in olive oil and balsamic vinegar and then fire roast them on the grill along with the fennel. Prosciutto adds meaty richness to this delicious grilled side dish.

Recipe: Fire Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fennel and Prosciutto

Makes.  6 to 8 servings

Takes. 10 minutes of prep. 15 minutes to cook.

Special tools. Vegetable grilling basket. One gallon sealable freezer bags.

Serve with. Chardonnay.

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt (read more about the science of salt here)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup thinly sliced fennel

4 slices prosciutto, rolled tightly and sliced into ribbons

Method

1) Prep. Place the halved Brussels sprouts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large freezer bag. Seal the bag and shake to combine the ingredients.

2) Fire up. Prepare a grill for 2-zone cooking. On a charcoal grill, place a chimney full of lit charcoal briquets to one side of the grill's charcoal grate in order to create direct and an indirect cooking zones. You want one side scorching hot and the other side at about 225°F. Add 2 to 3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal for flavor. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is as hot as possible and the other half is approximately 225°F.

3) Add a vegetable grilling basket to the hot side of the grill and preheat it for 2 to 3 minutes.

4) Cook. When the grilling basket is hot, add the Brussels sprouts to the basket. Cook until lightly charred, about 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Once charred, move the sprouts to the cooler side of the grill and set the cover on the grill. Continue cooking the Brussels sprouts until fork tender, about 10 minutes.

5) Add the fennel and prosciutto to the Brussels sprouts, and move the grilling basket back to the hotter side of the grill. Cook until the fennel has softened and the prosciutto has begun to crisp, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Fennel and Prosciutto

6) Serve. Remove the basket from the grill and pour the Brussels sprouts, fennel, and prosciutto into a serving bowl. Serve immediately.

Fire Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fennel and Prosciutto

Fire Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Fennel and Prosciutto

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