I can read your mind from here, through space and time. “BRUSSLES SPROUTS?!?! Yuck!” That is what I always thought. I vividly remember my grandmother’s funeral when my Aunt Dina was relishing the brussles sprouts and my mom was disgusted. I believed my mom, of course, and never tried them. That is until last December. There was a huge bin of fresh brussles sprouts at the store and they were super cheap. And I thought “why not?” and got some. I didn’t know how to cook them, so I went to the trusty internet. As always, it’s best to try the simplest way first. That way you get to taste the food in its purest form. When you know the essential taste of a food, you can come up with recipes that exhibit and properly balance the flavors in that particular item. This is particularly important for foods with strong flavors, like the brussles sprouts.
I was very unsure when I first brought the fork with the little green ball to my mouth. But when I put it in my mouth I was delighted with the nutty, buttery, and satisfying flavor. It was not bitter at all. It does have a distinctive taste, but like with chard and beets, that is a great thing. The texture does take a bit of getting used to, I will admit. All of the little leaves move around in interesting ways when you bite into it. But, like sushi, when you get over that it is great. We love brussles sprouts, and they are a great way to get sulforaphanes–a potent cancer fighting compound. I particularly love them to dip into fondue. The cheesy name in the title is a coy trick to make them sound as tasty as they are.
I think I have talked about coriander before, it is a spice that you can grow in your garden! It is the seeds of the cilantro plant. It is an all around great plant. That is the best way to get coriander for this recipe. It uses whole coriander and mustard seeds, and it is great to be able to use them right from your garden. If you don’t have any left over from last year’s garden, no worries. Just get whole coriander at the market. Whole spices are great to use to add a different layer of texture and taste to a dish. When you coarsely grind them, they have a different flavor than when pre-ground at the factory. The texture is also nice and crunchy. It’s a good way to get the satisfaction of a bit of crunch without the fat of frying.
If you aren’t familiar with using mustard (either whole or ground) in your cooking, don’t be afraid. Many people think of mustard seed being like yellow mustard for your hot dog.
That is certainly not the case. The condiment is made from mustard seeds, but there are many other ingredients that give it the tangy taste. (To tell the truth, mustard is one of my favorite condiments.) But when cooking with mustard seed as a spice, the flavor is much different. It is mellower and nuttier, though it can still have a good spice. As we all know, there are many different kinds of mustard–yellow, brown, white. These will all impart a different flavor to your cooking. I have found it sufficient most of the time just to use the whole mustard seeds from the jar in the spice section.
I hardly need to extol the benefits of salmon to you. Even though it’s a rather fatty fish, it is high in levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and protein. What’s more, it is a delicious way to break from the normal beef and chicken. You can buy it in convenient frozen, individual filets. Not as fresh as we would all like, but good to just whip out of the freezer and go without making a special trip to the store.
Salmon with Coarse Ground Herbs Points: 9 for 4 oz
- 2-4 oz salmon filets (or you can do more, if you have more people)
- 1.5 tsp whole coriander
- 1.5 tsp whole mustard (you can also use any whole seed spice that you like. The original recipe I found online called for coriander and fennel seed. I really don’t like fennel seed, so I substituted mustard seeds)
- Spray butter
- Lemon Juice
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375 (350 for low altitudes).
- Crush your spices in one of two ways: (1) Put your whole spices into a ziplock bag. Then get out your anger and frustration with the world by pounding it with a rolling pin. You don’t want to pound them too finely, you want it to be quite coarse. (2) if you are a cooking nerd, like me, break out your mortar and pestle. It will give you pleasant (or unpleasant, as the case may be) memories of chemistry. I just have a little wooden one and it works great. Grind up your spices until they are just coarsely ground.
- Put your salmon on a sheet of tinfoil. You can do individual sheets, if you like. But since I only did two, I just did one sheet of aluminum. Season both sides with salt, pepper, and the spices. Use the spray butter (I have I can’t believe it’s not butter) and give each a few squirts. I found this a good way to get the taste of butter, but to control the amount so it didn’t add any points. Give them a squirt of lemon juice each to taste. If you wanted to you, you could put a slice of lemon on top of each.
- Wrap the aluminium in packet fashion around the salmon. Make sure that there isn’t anywhere that the heat can escape–you want to keep in the steam for a nice, tender fish.
- Bake for about 10-20 min (depending on altitude) until the fish flakes easily in the middle.
Buttery Nuttery Brussles Sprouts Points: 3 for a 4 oz serving.
- 12 oz brussles sprouts (That is about 25 small/med sprouts. I used the green giant steamer bags–I love them. That is how I know I had 12 oz. I just heated them in the bag for the steam stage and went from there.)
- 2 T light butter
- 1 oz (about a palm full, or 12 nuts) of sliced/chopped almonds (I used some from a can of roasted, salted, snack kind and chopped them myself).
- Slice each sprout in half lengthwise, so that there is a bit of stem left on the end of each half. The stem is edible and keeps all the leaves together.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Steam for about 5 min to get them nice and tender.
- Melt the butter in a sautee pan. Toss in the sprouts and spread them out in a single layer in the pan so that they are all in butter. Season with salt and pepper.
- Let them carmalize on that side, then flip them over.
- When you flip them, add in the almonds to roast nicely along with the sprouts.
- When they are golden on both sides, (after about 10 min total), serve to your dubious family and friends. Observe what the power of butter and a willingness to try foods can do.
- NOTE: Like with spinach, chard, and kale (distant relatives of this little cabbage) DO NOT OVER COOK! The sprouts should still be nice and bright green (except the golden spots) still, not dark and yucky looking. They get bitter if you over cook them.