BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND TURNIPS (ITALIAN-AMERICAN)
Chilly night last night as we watched the Blizzard of '95 go whistling by just a few miles north of here, inspired me to create a hearty and warming dinner.
To go along with an Italian-style brisket, I did a "fusion" thing by cooking a veggie (Brussels Sprouts) and a starch (turnip) more often associated with old-fashioned American cuisine, but giving them an Italian treatment. I think it worked out well, well enough that I've been requested to add it to the regular "rotation."
Wash a couple of dozen very small B sprouts, discarding wilted leaves and trimming off the stem end if browned. (I generally poke an "X" into the stem with a paring knife, an old tradition said to help them cook more quickly, although I'm not sure this is strictly necessary if the sprouts are small.)
Wash and peel one large turnip (or two small ones) and cut it into medium-size (1/2-inch to 3/4-inch) cubes.
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, dump in the sprouts and turnips together; reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook for 7 or 8 minutes or until the vegetables are just crisp-tender. Drain and set aside while you heat two garlic cloves, sliced thin, and a sprinkle of red-pepper flakes in a little olive oil in a saut‚e pan. Don't go heavy on the red pepper; this is Italian, not Cajun or Thai, and you just want a hint of piquancy, not a conflagration.
When the garlic is sizzling and starting to brown, add the cooked sprouts and turnips and stir around for a minute or two, being careful not to mash the turnips, until the oil, garlic and peppers are well distributed; salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Double the amount and serve it with crusty bread and a salad, and you could skip the meat course and declare it a light vegetarian meal!