Recipe: Seared Brussels Sprouts with Honey-Shallot Glaze from ‘The Nimble Cook’


Seared Brussels Sprouts with Honey-Shallot Glaze Photo: Jennifer Indig

Brussels sprouts are almost as synonymous with Thanksgiving as pumpkin pie, and offer a colorful splash of green to a table filled with turkey and mashed potatoes. If you’re looking for a simple update to this vegetable staple then consider this seared Brussels sprouts recipe by Ronna Welsh of Purple Kale Kitchenworks, originally published in her cookbook The Nimble Cook (which we reviewed here). In it she offers two glazes, but often chooses this one for Thanksgiving. “This browning gets built on with a rich glaze of fish sauce and honey, especially welcome when your Brussels lean bitter,” she said.

Her recipe requires little prep time and because they’re seared on top of the stove, will save sacred space in your oven. The addition of fish sauce to the glaze gives the recipe a subtle Asian flavor, balancing nicely with the sweetness from the honey. The recipe suggests searing the vegetables in batches, requiring a little extra effort but worth it in the end to achieve a crispy browning effect without burning the Brussels sprouts. Adding the glaze and steaming in the last step keeps them moist and tender. Welsh suggests choosing smaller Brussels sprouts which cook trough easily without burning or cutting larger ones into quarters, searing both cutsides before flipping them over.

Serves 4Prep time: 10 minutesCook time: 10 minutesTotal time: 20 minutes


½ cup or more high-heat oil (such as grapeseed or canola)
2 pounds small Brussels sprouts, ends lightly trimmed, halved through the core
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Optional: Honey-Shallot Glaze

2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons water
4 teaspoons. honey
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots or scallions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

If glazing the sprouts, make the glaze before you start cooking (see below). Place a large, heavy skillet over medium heat; add ¼ cup of the oil. When the oil is hot, place half of the Brussels sprouts, cut side down, in the pan. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Sear until the bottoms are a dark, nutty brown, about 2 minutes. Use tongs to flip them over individually, then brown them on the round side—this ensures they cook evenly. Taste one: It should be soft on the outside with only residual crunch inside. If some of the pieces are well browned but still too crunchy, cover the pan and continue to cook, lowering the heat if necessary to keep them from burning. Once done, transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining oil, Brussels sprouts, and salt. Serve the seared sprouts as is, or finish them with a quick glaze (see below).  If serving with the glaze, once all the sprouts are seared, combine them in the pan. Turn the heat to medium. Add the glaze and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let steam for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, spoon over any glaze, and serve.

They’re best the day they’re made.


Before you start the sprouts, make the glaze.

Honey-Shallot (or Scallion) Glaze:

Whisk 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 2 tablespoons water, and 4 teaspoons honey in a small bowl. To this, add 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots or scallions and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter.

Seared Brussels Sprouts is excerpted from THE NIMBLE COOK: NEW STRATEGIES FOR GREAT MEALS THAT MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR INGREDIENTS © 2019 by Ronna Welsh. Illustrations © 2019 by Diana Vassar. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.