Anyone who’s ever dined at a restaurant with my family and I has experienced the fine art that is “ingredient and recipe figuring outing”. My mom and I are particularly intense at this, and have been able to successfully identify some of the most obscure ingredients in some of the most delicious foods.
Think the Top Chef ingredient taste challenge times ten. We’ll sit there, dipping the tines of our forks into droplets of marinade, bits of sauces, and crumbs of dry rub. We’ll allow flavors to linger, and then analyze.
“That’s cumin, cayenne, and… whats the other taste there?” “Cinnamon. Maybe some cardamom.” “Oh! And black pepper!” We make little noises between each sentence, much like the tongue click we make to call the cats over; small little lip-smacking noises that help us identify ingredients in a delicious restaurant dish.
It’s intense, and quite hilarious for the innocent bystander. But, when we get it, we get it.
My mom and stepdad recently took a road trip to Washington, D.C. and had the pleasure of visiting Zaytinya, a modern Mediterranean restaurant formerly run by Top Chef contestant Mike Isabella. A few text messages from my mom told me that she had eaten the most delicious thing ever while there, and she couldn’t wait to figure it out. And figure it out she did!
A dish called “Crispy Brussel Afelia” is described as brussels sprouts, coriander seed, garlic yogurt, and barberries. When we had our family “Greek Easter” celebration last weekend, my mom brought her creation, and I believe I demanded the recipe before we even got home that night. She shared, and gave me permission to blog it.
The final product is something that could easily be a meal on its own, but makes a perfect side dish for a bigger meal. The way my mom made them, the brussels sprouts had pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, pine nuts, as well as the yogurt and coriander. I substituted the pomegranate seeds and dried cranberries for dried cherries, and left the nuts out all together since they were extremely expensive! I’m posting the recipe as she wrote it, adding in more exact measurements where needed.
2 packages frozen brussel sprouts (I used 1 lb fresh)
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon olive oil
roasted pine nuts (I left these out)
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted in a hot pan then crushed with the back of a spoon
a few pomegranate seed (maybe 1/8 cup)
a few craisins, soaked in warm water til squishy (I used dried cherries, 1/4 cup)
InstructionsHeat a frying pan until crazy hot. Add a tablespoon olive oil and brussel sprouts, and some salt.
Allow to really blacken and char an both sides- toss them around. This may take 10 minutes or so.
Mix yogurt, olive oil and salt together in a separate dish… (this should taste salty and delicious)
Allow sprouts to cool.
Put layer of yogurt sauce on a dish… then layer sprouts,roasted coriander, then pine nuts, craisins and pomegranate seed.
Coriander seeds are key to this dish