One of my best college friends had a job as the reservationist at Union Square Cafe when we first graduated from college. At the time, it was very hard to get a reservation at Union Square Cafe, so they were lucky to have Marya. If hundreds of your would be customers have to be told that, no, they cannot have a table they should hear it from someone as gracious, firm and well spoken as my friend Marya.
Employees were given a discount to dine at the restaurant on occasion, and Marya invited our little social circle to dinner a couple of times, which was a fabulous treat for people as young and poor as we all were. Also, when the Union Square Cafe Cookbook was published she gave me a signed copy that could not be sold because one of the recipes (Hot Garlic Potato Chips) printed out with a strange spray of ink across the instructions.
I cannot say that I use this cookbook all the time. It is still a wee bit out of my price range, even if I am cooking the food myself. However, I am a fan of the vegetable side dishes. They are simple, full of flavour and make use of the seasonal local vegetables that can be had in my neck of the woods. Many of them involve fresh mint, which is a herb that I truly love.
I have been eating these hashed Brussel sprouts a lot lately. Sometimes I eat an entire half batch as a packed lunch. Sometimes I eat them for breakfast with a poached egg and a slice of crispy bacon. I tend to think of Brussel sprouts as an Autumn/ Winter vegetable but this dish would be perfect for the springtime (I know that, technically, it is already spring, but New York did not get the memo yet). The lemon flavour is bright, the sprouts are bright green and the poppy seeds lend their crunch. If spring ever decides to return to my city this dish will be a perfect way to celebrate
Cutting the Brussel sprouts takes a long minute, but once that prep is done the hash comes together very quickly!
- 1 pound large Brussel sprouts
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
- 1/4 cup white wine
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cut the stems off of each Brussel sprout. Halve the sprouts lengthwise, place them cut side down and slice them thinly.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet until it is nearly smoking. Add the cut Brussel sprouts, poppy seeds and minced garlic and stir to combine. Add the white wine and cook, stirring for 3 minutes or until the sprouts are bright green and just a little bit crunchy. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for another minute or so while you season the hash with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve!
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