At his hit Manhattan restaurant Betony, North Carolina-bred chef Bryce Shuman puts out a sophisticated version of Southern-style haute cuisine that seems difficult to re-create in the home kitchen. But one of Shuman's cool-weather favorites – fried, pickled brussels sprouts – is a lot more down-home, and it's something inexpensive that everyone should be able to prepare.
Like a lot of top chefs, Shuman's always on top of seasonal produce, and this recipe works for ramps in spring, peppers in summer, and in autumn, brussels sprouts. His passion for the dish comes from his younger days eating plain fried pickles as bar snacks down south. With this version, he's just given that classic an upgrade: a Japanese-style tempura batter and pistachio-cranberry yogurt, which creates a plate that's a lighter, Asian-inflected twist on American deep-frying.
Shuman's tips for finding the best brussels sprouts: They should be firm and free of any black spots or yellowed leaves. Once he's found the perfect batch, the chef simply blanches, pickles, and fries them, in that order. "I'd serve this as an appetizer, movie snack, or little basket of goodies at a party," he adds. Just beware: The tempura batter is so versatile it'll soon have you frying plenty of foodstuffs without the healthful benefits of cruciferous baby cabbage.
"Fried Pickles" (Brussels Sprouts with Pistachio Cranberry Yogurt)
• 4 cups brussels sprouts, quartered and blanched until tender
• 3 cups white wine vinegar
• 2 cups water
• 2 tsp whole coriander
• 2 tsp fennel seeds
• 1 tsp chili flakes
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup corn starch
• 2 tbsp baking powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 cups club soda
• Canola oil (enough to cover two inches of the bottom of the pot)
Add the vinegar, water, coriander, fennel seeds, chili flakes, sugar, and salt to a medium-size pot and heat until liquid begins to simmer.
Turn off heat, add the brussels sprouts, cover and steep for an hour. Remove sprouts.
Combine the flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt. Divide this mixture evenly between two bowls. Mix soda water into one of the bowls to form a batter.
In a medium-size pot, bring oil to 375° F. In batches, dredge the pickled sprouts in the dry tempura mix and then in the wet batter and fry, also in batches, until crisp. Serve with the yogurt sauce.
Pistachio Cranberry Yogurt Sauce
• 3/4 cup Greek-style yogurt (full fat)
• 1/4 cup toasted pistachios, finely chopped
• 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 tsp white wine vinegar
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and adjust seasoning to taste.