MEL × RIVERBEND: Garlic & Oyster Sauce Brussels Sprouts
RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS
A little comfort for the soul.
I did part of my growing up in San Francisco where I got to experience the most authentic southern Chinese flavors this side of the Pacific. At the time, I lived with a wonderful lady who would cook all of the traditional dishes she grew up with as a girl.
Some of these dishes were amazingly simple to make yet incredibly complex in flavor... just a matter of a quick toss in the wok and a spoonful of richly flavored condiments from a land far away. Still today, they are some of the dishes I turn to when I am in search for a little comfort.
Oyster sauce, a gateway drug.
These condiments, which when left to themselves can be quite powerful, umami and sometimes rather stinky, meld into the dish and elevate all of the flavors present. Yet not all of them are immediately pleasurable to a typical North-American pallet.
Oyster sauce, in my opinion, is the gateway drug to some more intense eastern condiments like numbing Szechuan pepper, or fermented shrimp paste. It tastes slightly of the sea, with an underlying sweetness, which pairs perfectly with just about all green vegetables.
East meets west.
While oyster sauce is traditionally used to flavor vegetable and meat dishes, or sometimes mixed into noodles as part of the sauce, you will never find a Chinese cook serving up Brussel sprouts with it.
However, many of the vegetables typically served with it are from the brassica family just like Brussels are, so it's not entirely a foreign concept to serve up cabbage-like things with this sauce.
It's mid-September here in Edmonton and cabbage, Brussels & broccoli are all in season. They all pair, in my opinion, rather well with a little garlic & a lick of oyster sauce.
What can I serve this with?
Typically, I would serve up a great big dish of veggies as a side when dishing out a family style meal. Think of the sorts of things you would typically see a large family sharing in a Chinese restaurant. Everyone can grab from the middle of the table what they want. A little of this, a lot of that.
However, when it's mid-afternoon and I'm looking for a little pick-me-up I typically turn to a much simpler option of steamed rice or noodles with a little sesame thrown on top.
10-12 large Brussels
(swap for broccoli or cabbage)
2-3 cloves of garlic
Serve with steamed rice & sesame seeds
5 MIN PREP + 5 MINS COOK
Chop your veggies into bite size pieces and place them along with the butter in a wok or large pan over medium-high heat.
Toss a few times until butter is melted, then chop garlic and add it in.
Toss a few more times until fragrant, add to a large bowl along with rice & top with oyster sauce.