Blistered Brussels Sprouts & Fava Beans


Let us not forget the time when brussels sprouts were reviled. Before they were on every menu in the country, they were synonymous with chopped liver and dry white toast -- food pariahs. Now, of course, everyone loves them, especially larded with bacon, glazed in maple syrup, funkified with fish sauce, or all three.

Fava beans share a similarly unpopular history, though haven't quite risen up to the glamour level of the brussels sprout. For such a mild-mannered food, people also hate fava beans, though perhaps for good reason. Fava bean consumption can lead to anemia, a condition called favism. But if you don't like fava beans, it's likely a matter of taste, and not an acute iron sensitivity or genetic predisposition. In any case, I'll let that one pass.

This dish is for the ugly ducklings -- who despite glossy photo shoots with high-end mags, will always know where they came from. I did nothing to prettify these up -- basically chopped 'em up and let 'em burn. I sprinkled with hazelnuts, which of course everyone loves, unless you are deathly allergic.

Recipe: Quarter and blanch brussels sprouts until they are slightly soft, but still green. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Mix with fava beans, olive oil, salt and pepper. Broil on high for 7 minutes, or until the brussels sprout leaves cannot be singed anymore and a few of the fava beans have split open with released steam. Amounts are up to you. This recipe is impossible to mess up.