Sunday, April 15, 2012
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Egg, Capers, Parsley: Crushed
"What are you doing for Easter?" He asked.
A million thoughts started coursing through my head at once.
He wants to see me. He's asking me out. On Easter? I have a family brunch... I need to make budino... do my taxes. But he wants to see me! Me! I have to go. What am I gong to wear? The grey ropey dress? My new shirt dress? A new outfit? Should I go shopping? When can I go shopping? I don't have time for this!
"Why do you ask?" I texted back, playing it cool while my head nearly exploded.
He was making a lamb feast -- wanted me to come. He told me to bring "the fam," bring whoever, but my head kept swirling around the singular thought, "He wants to see me."
After months of equal parts exhilarating and infuriating texting it was revolutionary -- the first time he'd suggested a concrete opportunity to see each other rather than vague hints at "hanging out."
It made it all the more crushing when it didn't end up working out for me to go. And even worse when despite my apologies and coy attempts at humor, he brushed me off like a fleck of sea salt. Like nothing that we had shared even mattered.
On the other side of a week, I can still taste the disappointment. Not just from not getting to see him, but from the end of a crush that consumed far too many of my thoughts during the months it was going on.
I'm cutting myself off now. Focusing inward, focusing outward on new and old friends, and cooking and running and writing and drinking beer (!) and doing all the things I love to do when I'm not busy clinging to my phone waiting for someone to send me a text message.
Because I don't need a blinking green light to make me feel valuable.
And I don't need a crush to feel equal parts exhilarated and infuriated.
I don't need any of that maddening, noncommital nonsense at all.
I'm moving on. Turning my face toward a new season.
Amidst the fury of this fall and winter -- the fall and winter of "The Crush," I also fell hard for Brussels sprouts. I bought pounds of them at the Farmer's Market every Sunday, ordered them every time I saw them on a menu, and prepared them a hundred different ways. I tossed them with miso dressing and crispy shallots, I roasted them with a slew of winter vegetables and drizzled them with a lemony tahini dressing, and I sauteed ribbons of them to tuck into fried quinoa "rice."
But my favorite way to eat them this winter was dry-roasted until super crispy, then accessorized with a hard boiled egg, capers, parsley, and a tangy lemon-parmesan dressing.
When I made it this past week, the Brussels sprouts had lost some of their appeal -- had become a bit more bitter than usual due to the change in weather.
"Time to move on," I thought as I discarded the overgrown stems and outer shells into the trash bin.
Time to embrace a new season -- of vegetables and crushes.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Egg, Capers, Parsley
Serves 1 as an entree, 2-3 as a side
Notes: You'll notice I don't use olive oil to roast the Brussels sprouts in this recipe. This isn't a mistake. For some reason I've noticed I get a crispier sprout when I dry roast them than when I toss them in oil. If you are worried about them sticking to your pan, feel free to drizzle a bit of oil on the surface.
10-12 Brussels sprouts, halved
1 hard boiled egg, chopped
2 teaspoons capers, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan
Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Once preheated, toss the Brussels sprouts with salt and pepper then place the open halves directly on the hot pan. Remove a few of the outer leaves and scatter across the pan. Roast for approximately 15 minutes, peeking in every few minutes to remove any leaves that are crisping up.
While sprouts are roasting, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, whole grain mustard, and parmesan. Set aside.
When sprouts are just tender in the center and crisp around the edges and interior crevices, remove from the oven. Toss with egg, capers, parsley, and lemon zest and serve immediately. Drizzle with the dressing to taste.