Everybody needs a brussels sprouts recipe up their sleeve, and should be able to whip up a side dish of brussels sprouts with their eyes closed. I know a few people who are on the fence when it comes to eating these little cabbage-like orbs. Unfortunately, that’s due to a genetic trait that intensifies the bitter chemical, found in some vegetables, known as phenylthiocarbamide. This genetic trait makes anything like cabbage or broccoli offensive to these supertasters, because they are born with more taste buds that make them particularly sensitive to any slight trace of bitterness in foods. For the rest of us, we can experience that same bitterness differently—and reap the benefits when foods of this category are paired with a sweet component, like honey.
Brussels can go in many directions of preparation: spicy, nutty, drenched in a flavorful aioli or sauce, or even shaved raw and served in salad form with a vinegary dressing. Guaranteed, there’s a recipe for every style of cooking method in the book for brussels sprouts. As one who loves brussels, I am excited to share a recipe with you that delivers all the stops: Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pork Belly, Mustard and Shichimi Togarashi. The sweetness from the honey and the tangy sharpness from the mustard anchors the brussels so well with the salty pork belly. The shichimi togarashi, a 7-ingredients Japanese spice blend (red chile pepper, sansho pepper, white sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, dried orange peel, ground ginger and nori seaweed) adds a nice accent of flavor with just a few dashes. To simplify the cooking process, I recommend using fully cooked pork belly for this recipe, like the one found at Trader Joe’s. However, it’s still a winner if you omit the pork belly entirely. This side dish complements many other dishes like macaroni & cheese or a tenderloin steak. Be sure to include a plate of these brussels at your next potluck event and witness it’s desirability amongst other guests. You know you’re onto something when a side dish becomes the star of the show.
Honey Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pork Belly, Mustard, and Shichimi Togarashi
• 1.5 lbs. large brussels sprouts, halved, ends removed
• 12 oz of fully cooked pork belly, medium dice (optional)
• 2 tbsp canola oil + 1 tbsp canola oil, divided
• 2 tbsp honey + 1 tbsp honey, divided
• 1 tbsp yellow mustard + 4 small dollops of yellow mustard, divided
• ½ tsp shichimi togarashi
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• Preheat the oven to 400º Fahrenheit.
• In a large bowl, season halved brussels sprouts with salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil and 2 tablespoons of honey. Coat thoroughly.
• Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of canola oil and let it get hot, approximately 2 minutes.
• Add brussels sprouts, cut side down, and cover with a lid. Cook on medium heat for 4 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a baking sheet and let it roast in the oven for an additional 5 – 7 minutes. (Note: Cook in two separate batches when pan-roasting in the nonstick skillet to avoid crowding. When transferring to the oven, combine all the brussels sprouts to the baking sheet and spread evenly.)
• In a separate skillet, brown all sides of diced pork belly to a golden crisp. Season with salt. Remove the pork belly from the skillet, leaving behind the rendered fat, and set aside.
• Transfer brussels sprouts and pork belly to a large bowl. Add 1 tbsp of mustard and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt, if necessary.
• Serve onto a platter and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of honey. Place 4 small dollops of mustard directly onto the top right and left and bottom right and left of the brussels sprouts and pork belly.
• Sprinkle the platter with shichimi togarashi and serve immediately.