To learn more about this recipe, see our related story, Brussels Go Black, in our Chicago edition.
Blackened Brussels Sprouts
Recipe adapted from Jeff Pikus, Maude's Liquor Bar, Chicago
Yield: Serves 4
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 pound Brussels sprouts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tablespoon grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives, divided
1 teaspoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped and divided
1 teaspoon finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons chicken broth
1. Trim the ends off of the Brussels sprouts and peel away loose leaves (save if frying; see note below). Halve or quarter the Brussels sprouts if large.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Remove ½ cup water and pour into a large bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon salt until dissolved. Add ice and cold water to make an ice-water bath. Boil the Brussels sprouts until tender, 3 to 6 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice-water bath. Once cool, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper-towel-lined sheet pan and drain, cut side down.
3. In a small, heat-safe bowl, microwave 3 tablespoons butter until melted and set aside to allow the milk solids to settle to the bottom. Pour off and reserve the clarified butter at the surface, taking care to leave the milk solids behind.
4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or heavy-bottomed skillet) over high heat until very hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the clarified butter (it will smoke when it hits the pan) and quickly place the Brussels sprouts in the pan, cut side down. Reduce the heat to medium-high and caramelize the Brussels sprouts until deeply browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter; once it begins to melt and brown, shake the pan to move the sprouts around. Stir in 1 teaspoon of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, ¼ teaspoon chives, ¼ teaspoon parsley, shallots, lemon juice and chicken broth. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the broth is completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Turn the Brussels sprouts onto a serving dish and finish with the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano, chives and parsley.
Note: Pikus likes to finish the dish with fried Brussels sprouts leaves for a crisp counterpoint. Fry the leaves in 2 cups of canola oil heated to 300° for 10 seconds (covered, as the moisture from the leaves causes the oil to spatter), then use a frying spider or slotted spoon to transfer the crispy, browned leaves to a paper-towel-lined plate. Finish with salt while hot, and sprinkle over the caramelized Brussels sprouts before serving.