The mark of a truly great cookbook is one that you pick up and, as you thumb through the pages you notice yourself thinking of every single recipe, "I want to cook that." That was what happened when I picked up Susie Middleton's "Fast, Fresh & Green" cookbook. Often, you scan through a cookbook and find a handful of recipes you want to make, and even fewer you're likely to make. There are precious few that cater so perfectly to your own personal taste and cooking style. For me, that perfect fit is the veggie-centric cookbook by Middleton.
I know that this is one book I will probably end up referencing over and over since it's not only filled with vegetarian recipes I want to try, but also includes great instructions for beginners like me. The book is broken into sections based on how you cook the veggies: quick roasting comes with instructions on how it's done and a list of recipes; then there is sauteing, braising, stir-frying and so on. Perfectly suited to people who are just starting to cook or who want to learn new skills in the kitchen, this cookbook makes all kinds of recipes feel more approachable.
And of course there are the delicious recipes themselves. The first recipe I tried from this book was these roasted Brussels sprouts with orange butter sauce. The idea of earthy Brussels paired with bright orange flavor carried in savory butter is simply irresistible. The best part is, this recipe is incredibly simple. There are few things in cooking that I love more than a recipe that sounds fancy but is completely easy.
Prep time:15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter Sauce
- 1 lb small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice (I used a Cara Cara orange; try a variety on the sweet side!)
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small cubes (You can try a vegan version of this recipe using olive-oil based "butter" such as Smart Balance. It won't be as creamy but it will carry the orange flavor throughout the Brussels.)
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil and salt until coated. Line them on the baking sheet, cut-side down, in a single layer. Roast them for about 15 minutes, until tender when poked with a fork and the outer leaves are crispy brown. Put them in a mixing bowl.
- In a small saucepan, combine the balsamic vinegar, syrup, orange juice, and zest. Heat over medium-low heat until you see steam rise and it is hot, but not yet simmering. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, adding a few cubes at a time and allowing them to melt as you whisk before adding more. Once all the butter is added, the sauce will be thick and creamy, and a dark brown.
- Pour the sauce over the Brussels in the mixing bowl and gently stir until the sprouts soak up the sauce.
- Serve, and enjoy!