The Best Brussels Sprouts

The Best Brussels Sprouts

The Best Brussels Sprouts

I created this Brussels Sprouts recipe a few years ago, and it has been a hit at family holiday dinners. It’s also a great side dish for any event. Brussels Sprouts have a bitter flavor, and this bitterness is usually what makes them unappealing. You have to do something to them to balance the bitterness out. The worst mistake I see is when they are served whole, with very little seasoning.

To balance out that bitterness and add a great kick, I use the sweetness of shallots and brown sugar with a pinch of crushed red pepper for some heat. Brussels sprouts can handle a lot of seasoning, so I give them a liberal dousing of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Adding the fresh garlic and shallots at the end of the cooking time prevents them from burning. Also, I halve the sprouts lengthwise, which makes them easier to eat and gets a nice caramelization on the inner part of the sprouts. The end product is a smoky, sweet, garlicky Brussels sprout dish.

Brussels sprouts are named after Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. The Brussels sprout is in the wild cabbage family.

This recipe will have you adding Brussels sprouts to your grocery cart regularly. I know for a fact that after you try this recipe you will never look at these healthy little gems the same way. Enjoy!!!

Happy cooking and happy eating!

~ Chef Kev

Chef Kevin Warren’s Best Brussels Sprouts Recipe

Ingredients:

1 lb. Brussels sprouts
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
salt and pepper
2 Tbsp water (optional/as needed)

Method:

  1. Using a pairing knife, cut off the knobby tip of each sprout, then cut each sprout lengthwise. Place prepared sprouts in colander; rinse
  2. Pat dry, season liberally with kosher salt and pepper and paprika. Use your hands to toss, coating seasoning throughout all of the sprouts
  3. On medium-high, heat butter in a large non-stick pan until it foams and browns slightly. Add sprouts cut side down.
  4. After a minute or two, check a couple of the sprouts—they should be golden brown and caramelized for the next step: Sprinkle brown sugar and crushed red pepper. Give the pan a good toss to distribute the brown sugar and red pepper.
  5. Reduce heat to medium. Add chopped shallots and garlic, cover and steam about 3-4 minutes or until cooked through. (If the pan is too dry at this point, add 2 Tbsp of water before covering.)
  6. Remove top from pan and toss once more to distribute all of the flavors evenly.

Professional Chef’s Tip: Shallots and garlic both burn easily, so it is very important to reduce the heat before adding them

For a healthier version of this recipe, use olive oil instead of butter and decrease salt

Pan-Seared Salmon

Pan-Seared Salmon

Pan-Seared Salmon

While working the line at Bocanova, a Pan-American restaurant in Oakland, Calif. I cooked dozens of scallops and halibut orders every night. Cooking that much fish, and making sure each piece was cooked to perfection with the Chef yelling “not yet”, or “too long” in my ear until I mastered the technique, made me a pro. This recipe/technique will help you master perfectly moist, mouth-watering, delicious salmon.

To achieve a great sear on any type of fish, begin with a very dry exterior and a very hot pan. (I prefer an All-Clad pan for searing fish.) Moisture from wet/damp fish will prevent the fish from getting that nice golden crust. This tip also applies to other types of protein.

The trick (technique) for achieving a moist, flaky interior, is to pull the fish from the heat at the “right” time, and allow the residual (leftover) heat to finish the cooking for you while the fish rests. People often leave fish in the pan until it appears to be cooked through, and the results are dry, chalky fish. Use residual heat to your advantage for the best texture.

This technique is a keeper; share it with your friends and family. If you follow everything I say, you’ll never make a dry piece of fish again. Try it with my fettuccine, and Brussels sprouts recipes for sides—a great match. Happy cooking, and happy eating!!!

~ Chef Kev

Ingredients:

2 lbs. salmon (skin removed)
3 TBSP unsalted butter
2 TBSP canola or vegetable oil
1 TBSP paprika
Salt & freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Make sure the fish has sat out at least 10 min, pat dry with paper towel before seasoning.
  2. Season with kosher salt, cracked black pepper, paprika.
  3. Heat 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, and 1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil, get the pan very hot, butter should brown before the fish is added to the pan.
  4. Reduce the heat to med-high, add fish, flesh- (meaning “presentation”) side down. It should sizzle.
  5. Using a fish spatula, take a quick look to make sure the fish has a good sear. Turn the fish, only after it has a golden brown sear (good color). the salmon should have a white color on the side, about halfway up. This also tells you that it’s time to turn it.
  6. Once it’s turned, lean the pan to gather the fat (butter and oil), and baste 6 times with a spoon
  7. Place in a 400 degree oven for 3 minutes.
  8. Remove pan from the oven, place fish on a wire rack or paper towel to rest, pour hot brown butter over the fish immediately.
  9. Allow the fish to rest 5-10 min.

Note: Always remember residual heat (also called leftover heat) is what cooks the fish the rest of the way while it’s resting. The hot brown butter adds an additional layer of flavor, and also helps in the residual-heat cooking process.

Perfect Hashbrowns

Perfect Hashbrowns

Perfect Hashbrowns

Every once in a while, I’ll ask my wife what she would like for breakfast. And just about every time I ask, she gives me a devilish little grin and says, “Hashbrowns!” Now that grin is because she knows this isn’t a quick little in-and-out-the-kitchen breakfast; it’s going to take time to get these going. She also knows how good they’re going to be. (I get that same little look on my face when I make something, and I’m thinking, “Wait till they taste this one!”)

When I was developing breakfast recipes for my previous Executive Chef position, I decided to keep this one to myself. But now I’m going to share my secrets for perfect hashbrowns with you. Below, I have listed the key ingredients and techniques to make a crispy, golden brown on the outside and creamy, buttery on the inside hashbrowns.

The first step to making perfect hashbrowns is to clarify butter.

Clarified butter is butter that has had the milk solids and water removed. It has a much higher smoke point than regular butter, so you can cook with it at higher temperatures and get the great flavor that butter adds vs. oil. Also, removing the milk solids means that clarified butter can be kept for much longer without going rancid.

To clarify butter:

1. In a small saucepan add 1 lb of butter cut into cubes. Melt over low heat—this process will take a little time, but it’s important to be patient, because you don’t want the butter to brown.

2. Once the butter is melted, the whey proteins will begin to foam and rise above the fat. At this point, a ladle or large spoon is used to skim the foam. The goal is to skim the white foam until you have nothing but beautiful, golden, buttery fat deliciousness.

3. Once this is achieved, there will still be some white sediment in the bottom of the pan. To remove sediment, pour the clarified butter through a fine sieve or strainer over a bowl.

You won’t need that much clarified butter for this recipe, and as I mentioned, this stuff is great for sautéing and frying, adding extra depth and intensity of flavor, and it keeps for a very long time, so I want you to do this now and then save the rest for another morning, or another recipe!

Now, back to the hashbrowns…

Really, if you don’t have the clarified butter on hand, that’s the hardest part of this recipe—which isn’t really hard at all, but at 8 a.m., who wants to clarify butter? I don’t!

In this recipe, I also use a small amount of canola or vegetable oil, added to the butter, which raises the smoke point even higher. Also, you’ll want that pan hot, starting out. But make sure to turn the burner down to medium-high once the hashbrowns get going.

It’s also important to make sure you use the right potato. Russets are good, and they make a tasty hashbrown. But the real winner for this recipe is the Yukon Gold. You don’t have to peel it, just grate it, on the large holes, like you’re grating cheese. The texture is more dense than a Russet, which makes it easy to handle in the pan (Russet gratings are thin and flimsy). The Yukon Gold potato flavor is also more pronounced, more creamy and buttery.

One last piece of advice: use a nonstick pan. The hashbrowns will get great color, and most importantly, won’t get stuck to the bottom (as the name suggests). Again, the pan should be very hot to get that initial crisp and browning.

I like to form the hashbrowns, season one side, and put that side down first in the hot oil, and then season the other side in the pan with just salt and pepper. So, only the first side gets the heavy seasoning (paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper). Incidentally, that’s also the presentation side; the paprika and cayenne add color. Spicing this way ensures a nice balance, so that your hashbrowns don’t end up over-seasoned and the integrity of the flavor of the potato is still present.

What makes this the perfect hashbrown? The clarified butter, the correct potato variety, and good seasoning. It is so delicious, that after making it you’ll be convinced. And if not, then I’ll have to come over and make it for you to prove it!

Happy cooking and happy eating!

~ Chef Kev

Chef Kevin Warren’s Perfect Hashbrown Recipe

Ingredients:

1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
1/3 cup clarified butter
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
3/4 TBSP paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
pinch of nutmeg
salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

(Yields approximately 4 medium-sized hashbrowns)

Method:

  1. Grate potatoes. Form into hashbrown patties of desired size. Mix together paprika, cayenne and nutmeg in a small bowl. Season one side of each patty evenly with the spice mixture, plus salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a nonstick pan on high. Add 2 TBSP each of clarified butter and canola (or vegetable) oil. When the mixture is hot but not smoking, place the hashbrowns in the pan, seasoned side down. Use a spatula to smash the hashbrown to desired thickness.
  3. Season the other side in the pan with salt and pepper only.
  4. When the edges begin to brown, it is just about time to flip it over. Confirm this by lifting halfway up with a spatula to check for a nice golden brown color underneath (the edges often get brown long before the center). Done properly, these should only require one flip.
  5. Similarly watch the edges and check the second underside for doneness. Remove with spatula. Drain on wire rack or paper towels.