You Can't Pair Wine With Brussels Sprouts!

December 9, 2009

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
There are all kinds of Wine 101 rules that need to be unlearned or abolished concerning foods that are purportedly difficult to pair with wines, especially certain vegetables.  Why not focus on Brussels sprouts?  I adore Brussels sprouts!

Now what is the best way to cook them?  Roast, roast, roast!  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and commit to memory this arduous recipe, with steps more complicated than putting together a credenza from Ikea:

You need Brussels sprouts (duh), olive oil, and salt.  Toss the sprouts with the oil and salt and dump into a baking dish.  It's best to put them in a single layer so they get all brown and crispy.  Put the dish on your lowest oven rack.  It's going to take about 20 minutes but DO NOT GO ANYWHERE.  You'll need to constantly shake the pan to make sure they do not burn; you want crispy bits, not charcoal.  Depending on the size you may want to cut them in half; the ones I had were teeny tiny.

To serve, I would just put them in a bowl and eat them like candy.  And what wine to enjoy with your lovely sprouts?  I can think of five off the bat:

  • Sauvignon Blanc:  Here is where the slightly vegetal Sauv Blancs of New Zealand can shine, but I would recommend the cheap and cheerful Porcupine Ridge from South Africa.
  • Chenin Blanc: I'm thinking a  straightforward, crisp and clean version like the Cave de Saumur "Les Epinats" from France's Loire Valley.
  • Riesling: I'd go for a German Riesling with a great balance of sweetness and acidity; nothing cloying here.  Look for the Leitz Dragonstone.  (And who doesn't want to try a wine called "Dragonstone?"  Cool.)
  • Dry Rosé:  I love rosé with green veggies!  It always works great in the summer with green beans, so why not your winter, cabbage-y veg?   Just ask your wine merchant for a dry rosé; they are probably panicking over any inventory they have left over from summer, and are ready to deal.  (Though I must stress that rosés are a joy to drink year-round.  A joy!)
  • Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles.  When in doubt, the refreshing acidity in bubbles makes a great compliment to vegetables.  Again, ask your wine merchant for a decent bottle of Cava or Cremant for about 15-20 bucks. Or why not a sparkling rosé?

Happy roasting and drinking!