Just a couple days after our snow dusting, spring is suddenly here. In Hendricks Park, early rhododendrons were in full bloom behind the winter hellebores.
But it always takes a little longer for the local spring vegetables to catch up with the spring flowers. In the meantime, to satisfy one's craving for bright, fresh flavors after the long, comforting braises of winter, one needs to be creative with winter gems like these delicate purple and green brussels sprouts from Open Oak Farm.
Inspiration came from a delicious Madhur Jaffrey recipe I recently discovered for cabbage stir fried with fennel seeds and Indian spices. I love cabbage braised with mustard seeds, but Jaffrey's stir fry keeps the seeds crisp and bursting with flavor. I tried a version with these brussels sprouts and the resulting dish, full of fennel flares and bright lemon, was as fresh and fragrant as a springtime stroll through the park.
Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Seeds
inspired by Madhur Jaffrey
1 pound brussels sprouts
1 small onion
2 Tbsp neutral oil such as grape seed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt to taste
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1. Rinse the brussels sprouts, trip off their stems, and slice into disks. Peel and dice the onion.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the oil. When it is hot, add all the seeds and cook for about 30 seconds until the sesame seeds start to pop. Immediately add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until they are soft and glassy. Add the brussels sprouts and stir fry, turning frequently, for about 10 minutes until they are cooked through and a little charred but not soggy. Season with salt and cayenne to taste. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Enjoy.