Our Chef Speaks: Brussel sprouts

Thursday, April 14, 2011 15:56

Brussel sprouts, those tiny cabbages that have scared many a child away from green vegetables are making a comeback.

The leafy green is now being served at Anthology and our chef, Todd Allison, has definite opinions how to to bring out the best in brussel sprouts.

Q. Anthology has added brussel sprouts to the menu. Tell me about how we do ours?

Allison: I pan braise my brussel sprouts and finish them with cara cara oranges, candied walnuts, pomegranates and basil.

Q. Yours are delicious. Not anything like the stuff I had to eat as a kid. It seems brussel sprouts are starting to show up on a lot of restaurant menus these days. Why do you suppose that is?

A. I think chefs like myself are just trying to be creative and show customers different ways of preparing vegetables and, maybe, give them a ‘wow!’ during their dining experience.

Q. Yours are really good, but, usually, brussel sprouts get a bad rap. Why is that?

A. The only reason I can think that brussel sprouts would have a bad rap
is because as a kid they were boiled to mush and served with white vinegar –not to tasty as a child.

Q. What’s the key to making brussel sprouts delicious?

A. To get a great flavor out of my brussel sprouts, I pan braise them in chicken stock to caramelize the natural sugars and give it a roasted flavor instead of a bland bitter flavor.

Q. They are very tasty. Brussel sprouts have a reputation for bitter flavor. Is that something you have to consider when coming with a recipe? How do you counteract that?

A. In all my cooking, I like to balance out the sweet, salty, acidic and bitterness in food. My brussel sprout dish has all of that: sweetness from caramelizing and cara cara oranges, natural bitterness from the
sprout itself, acid from pomegranates and oranges, and the candied nuts give you a great crispy sweet texture as well.

Q. If people want to make brussel sprouts, what should they look for when shopping?

A good brussel sprout is easy to find, look for a nice bright green sprout and peel back a couple of the outer leaves to make sure there are no bugs or rotting leaves.

Q. Anything else you want to add about brussel sprouts or points I might
be missing?

A. Don’t be scared of the brussel sprout! Everyone should give them try and erase that bad experience as a kid — I DID!

About Todd Allison:

Anthology Chef Todd Allison

Anthology Chef Todd Allison

When Anthology chef Todd Allison is not composing culinary masterpieces, this Coronado native loves playing the piano, drums and guitar. He’s won numerous honors for his skills, including, the Mobile 5-Star, Triple A 5-Diamond and the Grand Wine Spectator awards.