Brussels sprouts and tapioca recipes for an iron chef style competition
October 7, 2010 8:34 AM   Subscribe

Help me win this Iron Chef-style competition!

So my group of friends have decided to throw an Iron Chef style party where teams will make a main dish and dessert based on two secret ingredients. Then we're going to rate everyone else's food and pick "winners." It's all in good fun and not going to be super serious, but I'd like to put on a good showing. Also, bear in the mind that the food will have to be prepared somewhere else (or mostly prepared somewhere else, there will be access to a kitchen) and brought to the final potluck.

The secret ingredient for the main course is brussels sprouts (!) and for the dessert is tapioca (!!). I love brussels sprouts but I generally just roast them with salt and pepper and olive oil (which is delicious btw). I'm trying to think of a substantial entree featuring brussels sprouts and all I can think of is some kind of pie or quiche with a brussels sprouts filling. I am not terribly good at pastry, though I could team up with someone who is. I cook a lot of Indian food and could make a great brussels sprouts curry, but again, that doesn't seem to have the requisite wow factor. The dish has to feature the ingredient as a star, which seems to limit the amount of meat that could be used. I would be tempted to use pancetta or bacon in some way but there will be people at the party who don't eat pork for religious reasons, so I would like to avoid that if possible.

Regarding tapioca, it seems that the organiser means tapioca pearls, either the small white ones or the big black ones used in bubble tea. I am also familiar with cassava or yuca which I've eaten many times, but would probably prefer to make a dessert with the pearls. My best thought at the moment is to make a tapioca kheer, which is a common and traditional dessert in India. I would use this recipe from Manjula's Kitchen perhaps: But I'm sure there are lots of other possibilities.

My friends are an adventurous group and previous parties have included making really excellent sushi and pizza from scratch. The general standard of cooking is very high.

I have access to a Wegmans for any crazy ingredients and a pretty good farmer's market.

Ive seen the previous threads on tapioca and brussels sprouts as ingredients, but the brussels sprouts thread focused on them as a side rather than an entree, and the tapioca thread had very few ideas.

So do tell me, what are your best recipes for brussels sprouts as an entree and tapioca as a dessert?

(This is anonymous because my friends might come across this by googling and I don't want them to figure out my MeFi username.)
posted by anonymous to Food & Drink (12 answers total)
Penne with brussels sprouts and bacon, or Brussels Sprouts with Saffron Risotto.

In my book, nothing with bacon or saffron can be bad!
posted by misha at 8:39 AM on October 7, 2010

My favorite thing I've ever had with Brussels sprouts is risotto with Brussels sprouts and goat cheese. The restaurant put the goat cheese in a mound on the plate and then poured the risotto around/over the cheese so that it was a pocket of oozy cheesy goodness. Also, in my opinion, the smaller the sprout, the better.

For tapioca, I'd go for a dessert spin on bubble tea. Like a colorful sorbet with the big tapioca balls. Just make sure you use clear classes and fun straws.
posted by two lights above the sea at 8:45 AM on October 7, 2010

I usually just roast my brussels too, but the most surprising preparation I've ever had was shaved raw, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice, then topped with ricotta salata. This was at a Mario Batalli joint, so it must be a real thing. Anyways, it was tasty.
posted by Gilbert at 8:48 AM on October 7, 2010

David Chang of Momofuku has a great brussels sprouts recipe. Obviously, you don't want to just do a knock-off, but it introduces three good flavor elements you can play with:

- a crunch texture from the puffed rice
- a little heat from chilis
- richness from the fish sauce and sugar
posted by mkultra at 9:04 AM on October 7, 2010

Oh, and Harold Dieterle, who won the first season of Top Chef (and who I think is the best cook of the bunch) does an interesting brussels sprouts preparation at his restaurant, Perilla. He separates the leaves, roasts them, and serves them with toasted nuts and dried fruit.
posted by mkultra at 9:08 AM on October 7, 2010

"David Chang of Momofuku has a great brussels sprouts recipe. Obviously, you don't want to just do a knock-off, but it introduces three good flavor elements you can play with:

- a crunch texture from the puffed rice
- a little heat from chilis
- richness from the fish sauce and sugar"

+1. First thing I ate at Momofuku Ssam bar, now I'm hooked for life. Amazing.
posted by weaponsgradecarp at 9:11 AM on October 7, 2010

I don't know, but epicurious says this.
posted by cestmoi15 at 9:17 AM on October 7, 2010

This recipe for brussels sprouts and chestnuts in brown butter is delicious. Not sure how it would keep or carry if prepared elsewhere, though, due to the sauce. You might have to modify the recipe so that you cook the sauce right before serving.
posted by bedhead at 9:23 AM on October 7, 2010

One of my favorite cooking blogs is Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks. I've made her brussels sprout salad before, and it's delicious.
posted by aka burlap at 9:41 AM on October 7, 2010

I had buffalo brussels sprouts at a restaurant in Somerville, MA and they were amazing. Googled it to find you a recipe and someone had the same thing, at the same place and created a healthier home-made version. Recipe here!
posted by jdl at 10:30 AM on October 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

It may not be Iron-Chef worthy but I blanch the brussel sprouts, let them cool in ice water (dry them), and cut them into 1/4" slices. Then, I pan-fry bacon lardons, garlic, and shallots and toss them all together.

Wonderful Fall side-dish.
posted by jmevius at 11:14 AM on October 7, 2010

I once had the most mind-numbingly delicious brussel sprout dish from here. It wasn't a curry per se, but it was definately something slow cooked with savory exotic spices, and it was all b. sprout, not a vege blend. Sorry I can't be more help ... i can't really tell from the website which region of India the seasonings might have come from ... just wanted to say don't write off curry-ish preparations just yet!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 8:03 PM on October 7, 2010

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