I’m back in Seattle this Thanksgiving for the second year after a 5 year hiatus participating in various “friendsgivings” across the country. My recent return is to familiar thanksgivings of my childhood past—my nana’s purple jello, creamy mashed potatoes, two large turkeys, and usually around thirty family members gathering together in the name of this über American holiday.
But “friendsgivings” became somewhat of a tradition while I was living on the east coast during college, and each year I celebrated the holiday somewhere different. I loved seeing other people’s thanksgiving spreads or creating makeshift potluck dinners with friends who were also far from home.
I tried many new but classic Thanksgiving dishes this way—actually using marshmallows on sweet potatoes, a rich caramelized onion dish, green beans with miso, homemade baked brie, and sautéed mushrooms fresh from the farmers market, to name a few. And while cooking happened together, each person brought their own unique contribution to the table. I also confirmed my suspicion that tryptophan induced couch time on Thanksgiving is universal no matter what part of the country you eat dinner in.
But friendsgivings or not, Brussels sprouts are another delicious part of the thanksgiving roundup. I’ve never actually made these for any of my friendsgivings or family Thanksgivings, but in the spirit of sharing good food with friends who are now scattered in many places, here is my favorite Brussels sprout recipe, adapted from acclaimed chef David Chang of The Lucky Peach magazine and Momofuku fame. I love Chang’s take on food and in this particular combo he calls for a salty, citrusy, and spicy vinaigrette to go with crispy sprouts. As a Brussels sprout enthusiast, I find this recipe tastes great throughout the winter season, but it also works as a Hanukkah-Thanksgiving dish (if you’re into combining the two food-wise) because the sprouts are fried in oil.
Momofuku’s Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
Adapted from Food52
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
½ cup cilantro leaves
Grapeseed or other neutral oil for frying and roasting (I just used veggie oil)
First, make the vinaigrette (recipe below) and let it sit. Trim the ends of the sprouts, then slice in half and remove any loose leaves. Make sure they are fully dry. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large skillet or wok (cast iron or other oven safe pan would be best here) with oil then add the Brussels sprouts cut side down. Fry until they start to brown and then transfer to the oven to roast for 10-15 minutes. If your pans aren’t oven safe, be sure to transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet with the cut sides still down. You’ll know when they’re done once sprouts are browned and tender, not soft.
Remove from heat and place in large bowl. Add enough dressing to coat the sprouts and mix together. Stir in cilantro leaves. Optional: garnish with extra mint, chiles, and cilantro.
Fish Sauce Vinaigrette:
½ cup fish sauce (smells bad but tastes good!)
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
¼ cup sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
2 chiles (I used long red ones)
3 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons thinly sliced cilantro stems (optional)
Combine the fish sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, garlic, chiles, mint and cilantro stems in a jar. Taste as you go. If too salty, add more water and/or lime juice. This mixture will keep for up to a week in the fridge and is delicious! Pour over the Brussels sprouts and enjoy on Thanksgiving with friends and/or family but this dish tastes good anytime.
N.B: Though the vinaigrette can be made ahead of time, I recommend making the sprouts and dressing them right before you plan to serve this dish.