Garlic Sprouts

In late winter/early spring much of my cooking begins with sautéing a number of stalks of green garlic in a small amount of some kind of delicious fat or oil, whatever’s around. Tonight’s endeavor was so delicious that I gotta share it, particularly because it may have been the most nutritious and least calorific supper I’ve eaten so far this year.

I had on hand a bag of particularly fine Brussels sprouts from the Iacopis, just spectacular ones, tight little globes about 3/4 inch in diameter, almost cute if I dare use that word to describe a widely-despised vegetable, so fine that prepping them was a tactile pleasure.

I put a big pot of salted water on to boil, and fetched from the fridge the green garlic, some schmaltz I generated a couple of days ago while brining and roasting a chicken, and an andouille sausage. I cleaned and trimmed the garlic and chopped it. Then I sliced the andouille very thin and read another few pages of Love and Hydrogen by Jim Shepard (read it!) until the water was boiling. I threw in the sprouts and re-covered the pot so as to bring the boil back sooner. As soon as steam started to escape, I uncovered the pot and lowered the heat to just enough to maintain the boil.

While the pot was coming back to a boil, I brought a tablespoon of schmaltz up to sauté temperature in a large skillet. As soon as the sprouts were in to boil, I started throwing handfuls of garlic into the hot skillet, stem pieces first, pausing between additions to keep the temperature up.

Since we want to have identifiable pieces of garlic at the end, we are not sautéing the garlic senseless, so only a minute or so after the last of the leaves hit, I started tossing in the andouille slices, a few at a time.

By the time I got all the andouille in, it was time to check the sprouts. Knowing that they would cook a bit more, I drained them into a colander while they were still almost crunchy and then added them to the garlic and andouille to finish.

Since the andouille this time was quite hot (piquant), one thin slice held its own against three small sprouts. The ratio that tastes best depends on how hot the andouille is and how large the sprouts are.

I’ve been pairing sprouts and hot sausage for years, but the garlic adds a level of complexity. It’s sort of like the difference between Bach’s Two and Three Part Inventions….two voices are enough, but sometimes a third is an improvement.

Actually, if you happen to be out of Brussels sprouts, the garlic and andouille make a tasty meat dish, especially if you are using a less ferocious andouille.

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