I was sitting in bed, wrapped in my comforters like a wonton, when I heard the news: Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early Spring. When I peeked through the blinds to see delicate flakes of white drifting through the air and onto my porch, I couldn’t help but feel a little crestfallen. This winter has probably been one of the coldest I’ve “weathered” and, despite what I had said in the summer, I’m ready for winter to be over.
One thing I miss about the weather being 20 degrees warmer is going out to eat. One of the last times MVB (my vegetarian boyfriend) and I went out to eat was back in November at a place called Highland Kitchen. Little did we know that it would be the one and only time we would be able to sit down and dine. Since then, we have returned for two brunches and one dinner only to turn around at the door because they were packed and boasted a 45-minutes wait time. I wanted to eat there, but not that much.
There was one dish I was dying to order again, but in light of past failures to do so, I decided to make it myself: Buffalo Brussels Sprouts. Imagine popping one of these vermillion morsels of tangy, spicy, fried delight in your mouth and sinking your teeth into tender leaves that finish with a cabbage-y crunch. I would have never thought to put the two together, but the vegetal, slightly sweet flavor of the sprouts plays nicely with the piquant-yet-buttery sauce. This dish is a great alternative to ordering buffalo wings at a restaurant and asking your vegetarian friend if he or she wants the celery sticks (guilty as charged).
Buffalo Brussels Sprouts
Inspired by Highland Kitchen’s Buffalo Brussels Sprouts
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 quart canola or vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1/2 cup seltzer or club soda (I used water from my SodaStream)
- 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 450°. In a deep stock pot or dutch oven, heat frying oil to roughly 375-400°, about 10 minutes. Remove sprouts from stalk and halve. Toss sprouts in olive oil and arrange on a sheet tray. Roast sprouts in oven until tender and slightly caramelized, about 10 minutes.
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine hot sauce, tomato paste and butter. Stir until mixture is smooth. Keep warm.
Sift flour and cornmeal in a large bowl and whisk egg, vodka and water together in another. When the oil has come to temperature, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Place batter in an ice bath to keep batter and cold as possible while frying.
Coat sprouts in batter and drop carefully in hot oil. Fry until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels or a rack to allow excess oil to drip off. When you run out of things to fry, transfer all fried objects to a large bowl and toss in buffalo sauce until evenly coated. Have too much fun and serve immediately.