Ok, we get it. We all have our least favorite foods and bad food related memories. Maybe an improper cooking method or unpleasant situation created a lasting negative memory surrounding a certain food. But if given a second chance with the right preparation and a balanced recipe these foods may still stand a chance to be enjoyed in our diets. We know many people will cite Brussels sprouts as a disliked food and are challenging any followers that can relate this week to give them a second chance! We think this savory tart recipe will provide the perfect medium to allow Brussels sprouts to shine in a delicious but unassuming way. Challenge accepted?
Brussels sprouts are so named as they were first reported in the Brussels region of Belgium 250-300 years ago. They are a member of the cruciferous family, require cool weather for growing, and have a long growing season that extends into late fall. The sprouts resemble small cabbages and grow along the stem of the plant between the leaves. If the leaves are removed you will get a fancy stalk of Brussels sprouts (pictured above) though you will often find them completely harvested as individual sprouts in stores. Nutritionally, Brussels sprouts pack a good dose of fiber as well as vitamin C and K. They also contain an organic compound, glucosinolate sinigrin, which contains sulfur and can lead to Brussels sprouts' "off" smell if they are overcooked. This compound has also been studied for its health promoting and protective qualities - just another reason why veggies, especially cruciferous vegetables, are promoted to prevent disease and maintain health. Unfortunately, Brussels sprouts can easily get a bad reputation if improperly cooked and are often cited as a most hated vegetable - so unfair! When roasted to golden brown, crisped into chips, or sautéed until just tender, Brussels sprouts are truly delicious and nutritious without the expected offensive smells. So please don't ever think of steaming these delightful sprouts to mush again!
Brussels Sprouts Tart
PREP TIME: 1 hour
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes
1 ½ cups + 6 Tbsp whole wheat flour
6 Tbsp salted butter, cold
2 Tbsp cane sugar
4 Tbsp whole milk
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds + 2 Tbsp water
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 lb Brussels sprouts, ~4 cups once shaved
1 Tbsp salted butter
¼ tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper or more to taste
8 oz whole milk ricotta
4 cloves roasted garlic
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (we used roasted garlic extra virgin olive oil)
6-8 cloves roasted garlic
2 oz grated Parmasean
1 Tsbp sesame seeds
Whipped Ricotta Swirls
8 oz whole milk ricotta
2 Tbsp labneh (or full fat Greek or Icelandic yogurt)
1/8 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a head of garlic in half, drizzle with olive oil, and place in preheated oven either in a garlic roaster or in a piece of foil and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the tart dough, whisk together the ground flax seeds with water and set aside. In a standing mixer or by hand, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Add in the cold cubed butter and mix until a coarse texture is formed. Add in the flax seed mixture and whole milk and mix until dough comes together. Form into a disc, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Dough can be made the day before and kept in the fridge until ready to use.
Wash Brussels sprouts then use a sharp knife to finely shave sprouts until you have ~4 cups. To shave, cut off the ends of the sprouts then cut in half from top to bottom. Thinly cut each half either crosswise or lengthwise and pull apart any large pieces that stick together with your fingers. In a large pan over medium high heat add shaved sprouts, butter, salt, and pepper and sauté until sprouts become wilted with golden edges, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place between two pieces of parchment or wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a thin sheet, about ~1/8" thick making sure to roll the dough out a few inches larger then your tart pan. For this recipe we used a 11 X 7 " tart pan. Please note, a rectangle, square, or circular tart pan around this size will work. Carefully place dough over tart pan and again using a rolling pin, roll over all four edges to evenly cut the edges of the dough to perfectly fit the pan. Place dough in preheated oven at 425 degrees and cook for 25 minutes. Combine ricotta cheese sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Remove tart shell from the oven and evenly spread the ricotta garlic sauce over the dough then place the Brussels sprouts over the ricotta sauce. Sprinkle with additional roasted garlic cloves (amount to taste), grated Parmesan, and sesame seeds over the top. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and place the tart back in the oven and continue cooking for additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
While the tart is cooking combine the remaining ricotta with labneh (or yogurt) and salt. Place mixture in a pastry bag fitted with a small piping tip or a resealable sandwich bag with a small cut out of the corner will also work. Once the tart is removed from the oven pipe out 1/2 oz of the cheese mixture into a swirl shape on top of the tart. We chose to pipe out 8 swirls, one for each piece. Serve tart warm or leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat leftovers in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes prior to eating.
The best word to describe a bite of this tart is unexpected. The crust has a flakey sweetness that compliments the rich and creamy ricotta and the delicate roasted garlic packs a punch of flavor with each bite. All of this to highlight the tender and earthly Brussels sprouts that you've now come to appreciate and love, right? If you've accepted our challenge and changed your mind about this cruciferous veggie please share your revelation and our recipe with others - Brussels sprouts deserve a second chance! And if you've loved Brussels sprouts from the start, simply, enjoy.
Until next week,
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.