#thrillofthegrill

Eat Your Cabbage Patch, Kids! {aka Charred Brussels Sprouts with Marcona Almonds}

People either love or hate Brussels sprouts - and more times than not they're the only side dish remaining after holiday gatherings and dinner parties; until now.  I've devised a delicious way to prepare these "cabbage patch kids" for even the most discriminating, close minded dinner guest.  This charred, nutty technique give the small bundles a new flavor and presentation completely different from what we've experienced, tasted in the past, and they're the easiest dish to prepare at your next alfresco, grill party. 

Al Fresco Designs, Snacks with Daniel Keeley | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

Al Fresco Designs, Snacks with Daniel Keeley | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

For the most recent June issue of Citiscapes magazine I teamed up with Thrill of the Grill alum Daniel Keeley of DK Outdoor Design at the immaculate home of Chris Goddard to create a delicious, sublime dinner party for some of our closest friends.  The end result was a beautifully designed environment ideally structured for an al fresco gathering that featured a menu entirely prepared from the grill; a fun, interesting way to engage guests while they chat, imbibe.  https://www.citiscapes.com/eats-drinks

  

Our Charred Brussels Sprouts with Marcona Almonds are a perfect accompaniment to our Herb Crusted Lamb with Grilled Grapes http://www.edibleculture.net/blog/sheep-thrills-or-grilled-herb-crusted-lamb-skewers and Charred Baby Octopus with Olives and Pickled Peppers http://www.edibleculture.net/blog/lets-get-kraken-on-this-charred-baby-octopus-with-olives-pickled-peppers-and-basil-oil and can be prepared in a matter of just a few minutes. 

Cast Iron of Cabbage Patch Kids | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

Cast Iron of Cabbage Patch Kids | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

We simply begin by heating a large cast iron skillet over high heat, adding butter, olive oil until sizzling, then hitting the skillet with cleaned Brussel sprouts, mixing and turning every few minutes to coat and heat.  After about five minutes, the sprouts should start to char a bit, so now we add a handful of Marcona almonds, available at Wholefoods, which will toast as we near the end of the cooking process.  Marcona almonds, also known as the “Queen of Almonds,” are imported from Spain. We eat them as snacks at home on a daily basis; they are shorter, rounder, softer, and exponentially more delicious than domestic almonds. We particularly love the blanched Marcona almonds that are roasted in olive oil and then sprinkled with sea salt; a completely different almond than most Americans are used to - give 'em a try.

Spanish Marcona Almonds Elevate Brussels Sprouts | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

Spanish Marcona Almonds Elevate Brussels Sprouts | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

Once the Brussels sprouts are charred and the almonds are toasted we finish with salt, pepper, grated lemon zest, and a whisper of extra virgin olive oil.  Simple, sublime, delicious.  Thump thump!  

Eat Your Cabbage Patch, Kids! | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

Eat Your Cabbage Patch, Kids! | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

Charred Brussels Sprouts with Marcona Almonds and Lemon Zest

Prep Time:  15 Minutes | Cook Time:  20 Minutes

Author:  Case Dighero | Recipe Type:  Side Dish | Serves:  8

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound Brussels Sprouts (Washed)
  • 1 Cup Marcona Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup, plus 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Lemon - Zested
  • Salt and Pepper

Technique

-Heat large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat; add olive oil and butter, once butter is melted incorporate Brussels sprouts to pan, then cook until lightly charred.  Next, add Marcona almonds to the pan of sprouts and cook until toasted; remove Brussels sprouts and almonds onto a platter, then finish with salt, pepper, grated lemon zest, and final tablespoon of olive oil.  Devour!

SHEEP Thrills {aka Grilled Herb Crusted Lamb Skewers}

"A Toast to Sheep Thrills!" | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

"A Toast to Sheep Thrills!" | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

It's easy to dismiss, forget the virtues of lamb during the non-holiday months, focusing our attention on more traditional items such as chicken, steak, and fish; but really, lamb is as versatile and delicious on the grill as it is braised, roasted or when pulled from the oven.  Lamb has a b-a-a-a-a-d reputation for being too gamey, overpowering for certain palates; yet cooking it over an open flame or gill has a brilliant way of tempering the gaminess, making it exponentially more appealing to even the most discriminating, finicky diner. 

So, of course I enthusiastically added lamb to the menu of our annual Thrill of the Grill al fresco dinner party for Citiscapes magazine, and it was the surprise hit of the party.  

Not to mention, the main course for the party was also the easiest to prepare; Fresh Herb Crusted Lamb Skewers with Grilled Grapes can actually be prepped and completed in under 30 minutes. 

We start with three pounds of boneless leg of lamb from Richard’s Meat Market, then once home, sliced the rich meat into small 3 to 5 inch slivers that went into a medium sized mixing bowl.  I then embellished with syrupy extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and a myriad fresh chopped herbs that included basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, and chives. 

"SIZZLE...Repeat" | Phto Cred:  Kerri McMahon

"SIZZLE...Repeat" | Phto Cred:  Kerri McMahon

After 10 minutes of lamb, herb collusion I then skewered the meat, alternating the marinaded pieces between rough chopped green onions.  Once skewered, the lamb hit a high heat grill for about three minutes on each side, a bit shorter or longer depending on your preference, but a total of six minutes will yield a nice medium rare temperature. 

Lamb-a Dama-Ding-Dong | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

Lamb-a Dama-Ding-Dong | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

After reaching desired temperature, it's critical to allow the lamb to rest for five to seven minutes, this ensures that we lose less juice when we cut into it, thus, allowing a juicier, more delicious bite for our guests. 

While the lamb rests comfortably, we then coat small clusters of red and green grapes with olive oil, salt, and pepper before applying to the high temperature grill; just until the grapes begin to turn smoky and gently split.

Helping Lamb Achieve GRAPEness | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

Helping Lamb Achieve GRAPEness | Photo Cred:  Kerri McMahon

Then simply serve both the skewered lamb and grapes on the same platter, garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and rough chopped basil, chives.  Please note how the sexy, slightly come hither split grapes seem to temper the stylized, gamey flavor of the lamb making it the perfect dish to serve at your next outdoor party.

Enjoy the entire article here:  https://www.citiscapes.com/eats-drinks