Stir fried Brussels sprouts with anchovies

One plus one is … this recipe for stir fried Brussels sprouts with anchovies.


Sometimes the inspiration for a dish can be found on twitter.

First there was the Washington Post-article, tweeted by Sheryl Sternman-Rule. With her upcoming new book about Yogurt Culture she was interested in the prediction that in 2015 we will be going to eat savory yogurts  – let me quote the article on this: “think carrot instead of strawberry”. My eye already got stuck at the suggestion of combining Brussels sprouts with anchovies.

A day later my Dutch friends of MergenMetz posted a link to their rice salad recipe in which they combine Brussels sprouts with mackerel, one of my favorite fish – but which I unfortunately don’t come across a lot here in California. Since mackerel is related to anchovies, the creativity knob in my brain started working.

And this was the result.

Brussels sprouts by Edie eats -  illustration by Edith Dourleijn

Stir fried Brussels sprouts with anchovies

The old-fashioned Dutch way of boiling them made many kids, including me, cry when we had to eat them. ‘One for each year you’re old’, were my neighbors told. Thankfully for me, my mum hated them as well.
Since bitter is an acquired taste that you can learn to appreciate when you get older, I cooked them many times. They’re still not my favorite, but I don’t avoid them either. Especially since I learned that because of their strong, bitter taste, it works well to cook them with a lot of other strong flavors. Like anchovies. Balsamic. Lemon.

You need:
450 gr | 1 lb Brussels sprouts (weighted after cleaning)
100 gr | 1/2 cup Jasmine rice
3 anchovies
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 scallions (spring onions)
75 gr | 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 lemon wedges

You do:
Clean and blanch the Brussels sprouts. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, clean the Brussels sprouts by trimming, removing ugly outer leaves and quartering them. Make sure all pieces are more or less same size.
Salt the boiling water generously and cook the Brussels sprouts 3 minutes. Scoop ‘m out of the water (you’ll need that for the rice, so don’t throw it away) and drain.

Note: As you can see, I omit the usual cooling down in ice water or under a running cold tap after the cooking part of the blanching. I just kept the Brussels sprouts in the colander and let them cook a bit further this way. I like ’em soft. Stirred now and then to keep the outer ones warm and not to overcook the ones in the middle.

Boil the rice. In the kept Brussels sprouts water. Start working on the rest.
After draining the rice, catch a cup or so of the water.

Tip: If you use rice that has to cook over 15 minutes, you can wait a while. Or turn order: start cooking the rice while cleaning the Brussels sprouts, and work you’re way through the rest.

Prep your wok. Get it. Heat it. Add the oil and the anchovies. Over medium fire, let the small fishes melt completely. Make sure you have peeled and coarsely chopped the shallot. Fry until golden brown in the anchovies oil. Add the Brussels sprouts and bake until golden. Press the garlic and stir with the balsamic vinegar into the mixture. Bring to taste with salt and pepper.

If needed, add a few tablespoons of the reserved rice water to make the stir fry a bit more smooth.

Serve the rice and stir fried Brussels sprouts in a deep plate. Cut the parsley and scallions, shave the cheese and sprinkle all on top. Serve with the lemon wedges.






2 Replies to “Stir fried Brussels sprouts with anchovies”

    1. Well, since I haven’t tasted your Brussels sprouts with mackerel, I don’t know if my version was as good. But we both enjoyed it a lot. I dare you to give it my recipe a try and let me know which you two prefer! 😉

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