Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
It's always nice when I throw something together as a kind of afterthought and wind up with a dish worth posting on this site. That's exactly how these garlic parmesan brussels sprouts came into my life. I was doing a pizza making session that I wanted to make a brussels sprouts pie at, for which I only needed some of the trimmed leaves. That left me with a lot of whole brussels sprouts to use as a side dish for the pizza, so I just tossed something together utilizing the ingredients I already had out for those pies and what emerged as the final creation was too damn tasty not to share.
I've seen brussels sprouts pizzas that use either just single leaves and whole sprouts, but I'm partial to the former where the leaves get some nice charring and lend a mild brussels sprouts flavor and great texture to the final pie. Using single leaves really meant that I only needed that parts of the brussels sprouts that I normally discard, so I had the full main core of the veggie still left to work with.
I would have been totally happy to merely toss these with oil, salt, and pepper, grill them up, and savor their crisp-tenderness and lightly sweet flavor that gets a nice smoky touch from the grill. I did, however, have parmesan and garlic already out as part of the primary pizza making I was doing, so I chopped up a few more cloves and grated on cheese in addition the standard seasoning.
I had also made a batch of chili oil for dressing the pizzas with once they were out of the oven, and figured it could do double duty as another seasoning element for the sprouts. I think a lot of varieties of chili oil could work here, but I had made this batch with Calabrian chilies, which have a great spicy and fruity flavor that give this brand of chili oil a bit more depth than one you may make with chili flakes or any more neutrally flavored chili.
I feel like most folks don't think of brussels as grilling fodder, but with a veggie that loves high heat as much as they do, it feels like a no brainer to me. The sprouts may seem on the small side for grilling, but I really don't have any issues with them slipping through the grates, and with a freshly lit batch of coals pumping out heat upwards of 500°F or more, they cook in a relatively quickly twenty minutes over indirect heat and pick up great color and light charring during the process, enhancing their flavor over oven roasted.
Once the brussels sprouts were all done, I piled them into a serving bowl and grated on more parmesan cheese and drizzled them with the chili oil. The light garlicky bite was a great pairing with the sprouts, which contrasted with some sweetness they picked up during their roast, but the parmesan is what really delivered the goods in the flavor department here. The combo of cheese baked into the sprouts and then the fresh layer on top, gave a sharp. savory, and salty touch that makes most things cooked with parmesan delicious. The chili oil added a background heat to the party to the more upfront parmesan, and that provided just enough extra edge to make this bump up from a pretty good side dish to a pretty amazing one, in my opinion. So this last minute, thrown together recipe turned out to be a little delicious surprise, and sometimes those feel like the most rewarding ones when cooking.
Garlic Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
- Yield 4-6 servings
- Prep 15 Minutes
- Cook 20 Minutes
- Total 35 Minutes
- For the Chili Oil
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped drained oil-packed Calabrian chiles
- For the Brussels Sprouts
- 2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 2oz grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 2/3 cup), divided
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic (about 3 medium cloves)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- To make the chili oil: Place chiles and oil in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Continue to heat until oil begins to bubble around chiles. Remove from heat and let sit until cooled. Transfer to an airtight container, straining through a fine mesh strainer, if desired, and set aside until ready to use.
- To make the brussels sprouts: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place brussels sprouts in a large bowl and toss with oil, half of the parmesan, garlic, salt, and pepper until thoroughly coated and evenly seasoned. Place brussels sprouts on cool side of grill, cut side down, cover, and roast until well browned and crisp-tender, about 20 minutes.
- Transfer brussels sprouts to a serving platter or boil. Top with the remaining parmesan and drizzle with chili oil. Serve immediately.