i do not have a memory of brussel sprouts before my mother made this recipe. it is hard to say if i loved or hated them. all i can say is that once they were served to me in this fashion, brussel sprouts had earned their respect. it has been years since this dish was served for the first time, but once it was, it became a highly requested dish for thanksgiving and other family gathering. everyone loved it.
brussel sprouts deserve more reverence than they get. i assume everyone, like me, just needs to have their moment with them, and, then, we are transformed into a lover.
1 lb brussel sprouts
1/2 medium size (or 1 small) red onion
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
fill a 4 qt saucepan 3/4 of the way full and bring to a boil on the stove. in the meantime, rinse the brussel sprouts and trim off the ends. slice each brussel sprout in half. as this happens, several of the leaves will fall off. discard the outer ones that may be damaged or bruised. reserve the additional one that fall off. once the water has come to a boil, blanche the brussel sprouts in the water until they are bright green and becoming a bit tender. between 3-5 minutes. drain immediately and rinse with cool water. set aside to drain.
bring a saute pan to medium high heat and add the olive oil. toss the red onion and let saute for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until they become translucent. season with salt and pepper. continue to saute the onions until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. add the drained brussel sprouts and saute without stirring too often so they can cook through and brown on all side. this process can take 5-7 minutes. once the brussel sprouts look softened and are browning, add a good drizzle of balsamic vinegar (about a tablespoon). stir to combine.
in the meantime: place a dry non-stick skillet on the stove and heat at medium high heat. place the pine nuts in the pan and shake the pan to ensure they are in one layer. let the pine nuts cook and stir occasionally. remove from heat as soon as they are beginning to brown. set aside. they will continue to brown off the heat.
remove the brussel sprouts from the oven and place them on a serving dish. add additional salt and pepper if necessary. sprinkle with the pine nuts. serve immediately.