Breaking News

Gwinnett outlines phase-in plan for face-to-face classes starting end of this month

X

Healthy Cooking: Comfort and compromise, in Brussels sprouts and marriage

A few breadcrumbs, a little gravy, and a lot of love turn Brussels sprouts into comfort food. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES
A few breadcrumbs, a little gravy, and a lot of love turn Brussels sprouts into comfort food. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES

Brussels sprouts, roasted plain and simple, are one of my favorite foods. My husband, however, is as enthusiastic about cute little cabbages as he is about doing laundry. As I finished off a bowl of cruciferous green goodies all by myself, I wondered if I could convert him by treating the sprouts less like veggies and more like comfort food.

Take, for example, chicken-fried steak. The beef may be the base of the dish, but the fried coating and milk gravy are what make it crave-worthy. I wondered if I could dress up Brussels sprouts with similar crispy and creamy yumminess while still being healthy.

I cranked the oven to 400 degrees and prepared the Brussels sprouts for “oven frying”: dip them in an egg wash and breadcrumbs, then bake them. To reduce calories and cholesterol, I made the egg wash with an egg white and skim milk. For the crispy coating, I used panko breadcrumbs seasoned with traditional chicken-fried steak spices. Gluten-free folks can substitute with gluten-free panko, but the crumbs don’t stick to the sprouts quite as well as their gluten-full relatives.

Parmesan cheese goes with breadcrumbs like compromise goes with marriage. In an effort to nab all of the cheesy taste but less of the cheesy fat, I used pecorino. Pecorino has a texture similar to Parmesan, but it’s made from sheep’s milk, not cow’s milk, and the flavor is more robust. Moreover, you can get the same umami with less cheese, saving both cash and calories.

Saving time is important too, so rather than dip the Brussels sprouts individually into the egg wash and breadcrumbs, I tossed everything together in a bowl. The Brussels sprouts won’t be coated as completely as a piece of chicken-fried steak, but there is more than enough crispy happiness to satisfy.

I reduced the fat in the gravy by using skim milk, and just a tablespoon of butter. I also reduced the quantity of overall gravy by drizzling it on the bottom of the serving dish, rather than smothering the Brussels sprouts with ladlefuls on top. You can make a traditional white gravy, or brighten it with dill as written here. Either way, presenting the gravy on the bottom naturally controls the portion size and still gives creaminess with every bite.

My husband has become a full-fledged member of Team Brussels Sprouts. I still prefer the simple preparation of roasting with only a sprinkle of salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Fortunately, both versions are cooked at the same temperature. So our baking sheet now has his-and-hers Brussels sprouts, and we can move on to more important discussions, such as who will start the laundry washer?

Presenting the gravy on the bottom of Baked Chicken-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Dill Gravy allows enjoying the gravy without overdoing it. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES
Presenting the gravy on the bottom of Baked Chicken-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Dill Gravy allows enjoying the gravy without overdoing it. CONTRIBUTED BY KELLIE HYNES

RELATED:

ExploreMore healthy cooking recipes
ExploreRead the 2018 AJC Fall Dining Guide: Dining on Buford Highway

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.