UPDATE: I tried making this without the feta, pine nuts or currants. My sprouts were also the tiny, more tender kind. I found that I had to cook the smaller ones a full 15 minutes less than I did with the larger ones. Perhaps the longer, previous cooking time was also because everything cooled down when I took the pan out of the oven and added the other ingredients in the mix. FYI, even though I didn't add the nuts, cheese, etc., I still reserved some of the dressing to toss the sprouts in once they finished baking.
Like most of you out there, I grew up not liking Brussels sprouts. Though, I've recently developed a taste for these weird little cabbages. This recipe was inspired by a dish I had a few months ago at Zaytinyas, a (really too expensive) middle eastern tapas restaurant in D.C. Notwithstanding price, their food was delicious and their sprouts were amazing. I've been playing around with the B. sprouts ever since and now have a few sprout recipes up my sleeve. This version uses Greek style feta cheese - ya know, the standard feta you'll find at every grocery store in the U.S. A previous version I made used Turkish feta cheese. Greek feta is drier and crumblier, whereas Turkish feta is softer, smoother and creamier (mmmm). Most people aren't used to it, but I think this dish is sooo much tastier with the Turkish feta. In the end, I chose to go with the Greek feta because I wanted to make it more accessible to the people who don't have a Turkish market around. Plus, my husband, the Turk, liked this version just fine and I promised all of you (my lovely readers) and my friend Gwen that I'd deliver a Brussels Sprouts recipe. So, here ya go.
Zesty Brussels Sprouts, with a trio of Feta, Pine Nuts & Currants
Total cooking time: 40-45 minutes
1 pound Brussels Sprouts (try to get small or medium sized)
2 Tbs lemon juice (I used myer lemons which are sweeter than the traditional kind)
2 Tbs + 1 tsp Olive oil
2 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbs pines nuts
2 tbs currants, chopped roughly (can use raisins instead of currents - just chop then finer since they're bigger)
1.5 oz feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
Method: Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Remove outer leaves and cut the base off of the Brussels Sprouts. Cut each sprout in half. If your sprouts are large (like mine were), cut them in quarters.
In a large bowl, whisk together: olive oil, lemon juice, honey, dijon mustard, garlic, salt and black pepper. Then mix in parsley and lemon zest. Reserve 2 tsp of this mixture in a small bowl.
Toss the sprouts with the mixture in the larger bowl.
In the second, smaller bowl, mix the currants and pine nuts with the reserved 2 tsp of mixture from above. Set aside.
Spread the sprouts on a baking pan and roast 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove pan from oven and mix in the currants and pine nuts. Continue baking for the last 10-15 minutes. Some parts of the sprouts will have blackened - this is supposed to happen in the roasting process.
Remove from oven. Immediately, but carefully, toss in feta cheese (you want it to soften, but not melt) and Serve!
Tip: If you want a vegan version of this - simply skip on the feta!
Well, I hope some of you try this (or a variation of this) recipe. Let me know if you do - I'd love to hear how yours turns out!