Brussels Sprouts in Saor
This recipe is inspired by sarde in saor, a classic Venetian dish of fried sardines topped with sautéed onions, pine nuts, saffron and wine-soaked raisins balanced with a little sugar and vinegar. The saor, or sweet and sour topping, makes an ideal accompaniment to roasted brussels sprouts — served either hot or at room temperature — though it would work equally well on any vegetable side, be it green beans, cauliflower or broccoli. With lemon, vinegar and wine among its ingredients, this dish brings a welcome vividness to the Thanksgiving table — or any meal — where bright, acidic offerings are few and far between.
- Serves: 6 persons
- ½cup golden raisins
- ½cup dry white wine
- 2 ½pounds trimmed, halved brussels sprouts (from about 3 pounds whole)
- 10tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- 2medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
- Scant 1/4 teaspoon saffron
- ⅓cup pine nuts
- 2tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1tablespoon granulated sugar
- Black pepper
- 1tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
Step 1Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place racks at middle lower and middle upper positions. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
Step 2In a small bowl, combine raisins and wine. Set aside to soak.
Step 3In a large bowl, gently toss brussels sprouts with 4 tablespoons oil to coat. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread out sprouts onto prepared baking sheets, and roast until tender throughout and golden brown on the outside, 28 to 32 minutes. Halfway through cooking, rotate pans, switch their positions, and use a thin metal spatula to turn the sprouts so that they brown evenly on both sides.
Step 4In the meantime, set a 12-inch nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons oil. When it shimmers, add onions, a generous pinch of salt and the saffron, crushing the threads with your fingers as you add them. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and just beginning to brown, 16 to 18 minutes.
Step 5Spread the pine nuts onto a small baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. (Set a timer to prevent burning!)
Step 6When the onions are done, add raisins and wine, pine nuts, vinegar, sugar, a few cracks of pepper, parsley, a generous pinch of salt and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed: This mixture should be sweet, bright and perk up your palate.
Step 7To serve, mound half of the warm or room-temperature brussels sprouts on a platter and dress with half of the saor mixture and a generous squeeze of lemon. Continue with remaining sprouts, saor mixture and another squeeze of lemon. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate leftovers, which will keep for up to 5 days.