My swift tumbling into a head-over-heels, all-encompassing adoration of ramen. And consequently, izakayas, Japanese-style pubs. Which, consequently, led me to a deeper, disastrous, leave-no-trace, take-no-prisoners obsession with yakitori, which essentially led me to a personal mission of tasting each and every ramen in my path, no matter how inconvenient the excursion. My travel companions always thank me for my consideration.
This particular give-a-mouse-a-cookie stream of events led my mother and me to Two Ten Jack in Nashville, en route home from visiting my best friend for her baby shower (Welcome to the world, Theo! You stinkin’ cutie mess of cute), where our pretty badass waitress (“pretty badass”as in “pretty damn badass”, not as in “reasonably badass”) recommended we start with the crispy brussels, qualified only by their inclusion of shichimi and a miso vin.
And then I fell in love. Again. They were perfectly crispy and full of head-on umami, without being obnoxious; salty without being Death Valleying, lip-puckering, chapstick-applying; crunchy without being burnt or one-dimensional in texture. In other words, I had to recreate them.
While I wish I could combine the ramens of my absolute favorite izakaya, Robata in Memphis (noodles: perfect. tonkatsu broth: perfection. shredded mushrooms: perfection. egg marinade: perfection. egg itself: totally overcooked.) with the ramen at Two Ten Jack (egg itself: perfectly cooked. chashu: volleys back and forth with Robata for place as favorite, simply depending on the day), the crispy brussels were painfully good enough to force me to make several attempts at an adequate recreation. I used the basic flavor profile as the guiding light but wanted my version to be subtle and simple enough for a weeknight side.
What resulted was a dish I’ve been known to eat for lunch. And when I say ‘for lunch’, I mean, like.. as my lunch. And that, people, is the veritable litmus test of a vegetable dish’s deliciousness.
In fact, they’ll be gracing our Thanksgiving table this year, bringing a bit of life to a spread of classics (punctuated with a few exciting rookies) with the vaguely exotic depth of miso, balanced by the familiar butter and white wine. Simple, yet flavorful. Pretty much the best potential description of any dish, in my world.
These aren’t Bart Simpson’s brussel sprouts. Make them. You’ll love ’em.
Crispy Miso Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- 1 pound brussel sprouts
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil , like canola oil or a light olive oil
- kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon miso paste*
- 1 tablespoon butter , melted*
Preheat oven to 500ºF.
Trim brussel sprouts: cut off root ends and slice in half for small- to medium-sized sprouts, slice into thirds for large sprouts.
In a large bowl, toss with two teaspoons oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt. Spread evenly onto a baking sheet, sprouts cut-side down. Cover with foil and roast for minutes.
Meanwhile, mix together dry white wine, miso paste, and melted butter until very smooth.
After 10 minutes of roasting, remove baking sheet from oven and pour miso-butter mixture over sprouts. Toss to coat well. Use a spatula to spread sprouts back out evenly, trying to flip over as many as possible, so cut-sides are up. Return to oven and roast uncovered an additional 15 - 18 minutes, depending on how crispy/browned you like the sprouts. Remove from oven and serve immediately - they won't stay crisp for too long out of the oven.
*For vegan version, make sure you get a vegetarian miso paste (several include dashi in the paste for a super quick miso soup, and use Earth Balance vegan butter