after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

mission: sprouts and fennel

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t says: g and I were in the mood for a veggie-centric dinner, so we were set on grilling up some fennel and Brussels sprouts … until it rained.  Damn!  No outdoor grilling for us …  To the broiler!!

    Because I'm trying to cook anise and Brussels sprouts at the same time, I have made up a pretty involved manner to broil something, and not just "broil for 20 minutes, and you're done".  That'd be too easy.  AND, it'd result in unevenly cooked food!  So this is how I do it ...

Because I’m trying to cook anise and Brussels sprouts at the same time, I have concocted a pretty involved manner of cookery involving broiling … but it’s not just “broil for 20 minutes, and you’re done”. That’d be too easy. AND, it’d result in unevenly cooked food! So this is how I choose to do it …

0)  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

1)  Arrange halved sprouts in the center of a lipped baking pan, as above, such that all of the sprouts (~30 Brussels sprouts, therefore ~60 halves) have their cut side facing up.  Place the layers of fennel bulb (~2 bulbs worth) on the extreme right and extreme left of the pan, and arrange them such that they all curve upwards.  Drizzle with olive oil and aggressively season with salt and pepper.

2)  When ready, change the oven over to the “BROIL” setting, and get ready to start cooking with the oven door propped slightly open.  Now it’s time rock and roll: the cookery is a 4-step process …
2a)  Place baking sheet on oven rack ~6″ from the heating element, all the way to the left.  In a normal sized oven, this will place the right-most Brussels sprouts directly under the heating element, while the left-most fennel will be all by their loansome, barely getting any love/heat.  Continue until the sprouts right underneath the heating element are golden brown (~5-7 minutes).
2b)  Move the baking sheet all the way to the right.  Now the left-most sprouts will be directly under the heating element, while the right-most fennel (which has also been nicely browned) will be cooling off way away from the heating element.  Continue until the sprouts right underneat the heating element are golden brown (~5-7 minutes).
2c)  By now, all the sprouts are beautifully browned, but as usual for broiling, they are not yet cooked completely (you can try one to see how it is, and unless you got some really small sprouts, they’re probably very raw-crunchy (as opposed to cooked-crispy).  Thus, remove the baking pan from the oven and flip all of the sprouts over, so now the cut side is facing down.  Repeat steps 2a and 2b in an effort to brown this side of the Brussels sprouts.  When you are done, this is what you’re left with!

Voila!  Beautiful fennel.  And almost-copmpletely done sprouts!

Voila! Beautiful fennel. And almost-completely done sprouts!

3)  Remove the fennel and arrange on a plate in a dramatic fashion … like this:

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Sure is pretty!

4)  Now, the sprouts have one problem left … when you turned them upside down to broil their undersides, the beautifully browned cut sides are now a little mushy!!  Boooooo!  Having crispy leaves is the best part!!  So now what you do is turn them all back over … stick them back under the broiler for a few minutes … and when you see that they’re getting to an almost-but-not-quite-burnt state, you take ’em out … and, of course, arrange them nicely on a plate:

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Brussels sprouts can handle this amount of char – they taste awesome this way!

And there we go – roasted fennel and a broiled Brussels sprouts!  It seems like I’m nit-picky [and I am!] but it’s worth it!

 

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Written by afterdinnersneeze

28 May 2014 at 9:30pm

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