Tis the season for Brussels sprouts.
This past weekend we attended a holiday cocktail party hosted by friends who had recently bought a condo in Charlestown. We each needed to bring one appetizer, as well as a signature cocktail. Of course, Courtney was prepared as always and knew just what she was making, her cranberry-jalapeno cream cheese dip, which I refer to as cranberry crack. Anyway, despite her repeated reminders, I waited until the last minute, typical. The cocktail was an easy one for me, I went with one of my old favorites, the painkiller, which is a rum drink I was introduced to while living in the Caribbean, more on that in another post. The appetizer was not so easy, especially after an exceptionally busy week at work. I had a few things in mind, but I had procrastinated and just didn’t have the time for anything elaborate.
Courtney suggested Brussels sprout crostinis I’ve made a couple of times in the past. Perfect! Each time I’ve made these, they were a big hit. The ingredient list is short, prep time is only about 10-15 minutes, active cook time is only about 10 minutes, there’s minimal dishes to be done, and they are absolutely delicious. You can get creative with them as well, for example you can add cranberries (I chose not to as Court was already making the cranberry dip), or balsamic vinegar and figs would probably be awesome. I’ve also been thinking about a variation with cheddar cheese and bacon. Anyway you choose, this is a perfect last minute appetizer for any event.
Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for thirty seconds, until fragrant. Add in brussels sprouts, salt, and freshly ground black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes, until brussels sprouts are lightly golden brown. While brussels sprouts are cooking, slice the baguette into 1/4″ thick pieces and arrange on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle a bit of the cheese mixture on each piece of bread. Spoon the brussels sprouts mixture onto the sliced baguette and top with more cheese. Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 6-8 minutes.
Serve and enjoy, Steve
**Brussels sprouts are a traditional winter stock vegetable. It is best to plant them in the summer for a fall harvest. Freezing does not affect their quality and will actually improve the flavor.