Hmph. I don't know who to blame this failure on. And I'm getting sick of the Thanksgiving recap. After this, there's only one more recipe and it's worthwhile, I promise. But in the meantime, I'm going to grump all over this post.
We are a Brussels sprout-loving family, I would say. Maybe not 20 years ago, when my father would steam frozen ones and make me eat four: two big ones and two small ones. But I've grown in more ways than up over the years, and now I can enjoy an entire serving or two of sprouts on a regular basis without screwing up my face and holding my nose shut as I swallow. Most Thanksgivings, my father makes a festive Brussels sprout dish with onions and apples and walnuts. This year, though, I had to mess with a good thing by introducing a recipe by Regina Schrambling from a two-year old LA Times piece.
It calls for pistachio oil, which we searched for high and low at Whole Foods, at Russo's, and at two different Indian grocery stores (which boasted a great selection of all kinds of oils, except, of course, for pistachio), to no avail. We settled for using olive oil instead, but I can't help but wonder if this substitution was at fault for the dish's lackluster flavor. We did use a gorgeous pile of rose- and green-tinged pistachios, and the freshest sprouts I had ever seen. But we made the dish a few hours before our guests arrived, and I fear the time spent in the bowl might have softened the nuts and brought out a fearsomely cabbage-y taste from the sprouts.
In the end, I also have to ask myself if it just wasn't the most inspired recipe from Regina Schrambling. I love her stories and her biting wit, but her recipes have been hit or miss. Go to Orangette or Stephen Cooks for much better Brussels sprout recipes, and hope that my mood is better tomorrow.