Alibi V.16 No.2 • Jan 11-17, 2007 

Hot Knives

Mean Mr. Mustard Sprouts

Zen and the art of Brussels sprouts
Zen and the art of Brussels sprouts
Alex Brown and Evan George

The cultivated baby cabbage we call Brussels sprouts are one of the most hated vegetables in the Western world. They can turn nasty off-green colors, their texture is a little rubbery and, yes, they tend to cause gas. But this winter we’ve grown attached to the little bugger and offer a recipe to the tribunal.

For this easier than easy winter side dish, we complemented them with two of our other fave ingredients: oyster mushrooms and shaved fennel. The end product is steamy, hearty as hell and packs a bounty of winter vitamins.

Meaty Brussels Sprouts


1 pound Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bulb fennel, shaved diagonally into thin strips
1 cup whole oyster mushrooms, washed and dried
1 cup Chardonnay
1 cup mushroom stock
3 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Once rolling, add Brussels sprouts and par-cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender and bright green. Transfer sprouts to a colander and rinse under cold water to cool.

3. In a saucepan, add oil and bring to medium heat. Toss in shallots and garlic and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until nutty. Add fennel shavings and oyster mushrooms. Cook for another 5 minutes. The vegetables shouldn’t be fully cooked at this point.

4. Add wine and cook off. When wine is reduced by half, add the stock and stir in the mustard. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Transfer the Brussels sprouts to a large casserole dish and pour the sauce over top--it should come about halfway up the sprouts. Braise in the oven for 10 minutes and serve hot. (Keep an eye on the time--they'll lose their bright green tint if cooked too long.)

Beverage: Duckhorn Paraduxx Cab/Zin table wine

Soundtrack: Bob Dylan’s Modern Times

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