Why I love this recipe: I love this recipe for many reasons. Brussels sprouts actually have a season — fall and winter — so they are perfect for Thanksgiving dinner. I love the combination of sweet and salty and tart, and I love the textures the nuts, fried leaves and crunchy pomegranate seeds add. Plus, we eat with our eyes too and this dish is visually stunning.
Technique Tip: If you can't find pomegranate molasses, bring 4 cups of pomegranate juice, ½ cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice to a bowl in a medium nonreactive saucepan over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1 cup. Will keep in refrigerator, tightly covered, for several months.
Swap Option: Broccoli or cauliflower
To make the pomegranate vinaigrette: Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until combined. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before using. Vinaigrette can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.
To make the pomegranate relish: Mix together the pomegranate seeds, vinegar, honey, oil, parsley and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl. Let the relish sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. Relish can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored, covered, in the refrigerator (add parsley just before serving). Bring to room temperature before using.
If you can’t find pomegranate seeds, slice pomegranate in half, crosswise. Hold the pomegranate over the bowl, cut side down, and beat the top with a wooden spoon to allow the pomegranate seeds to naturally release.
To prepare the Brussels sprouts: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 heaping tablespoon kosher salt. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl halfway with cold water and adding a few cups of ice cubes.
While the water is coming to a boil, halve each Brussels sprout lengthwise. Add the sprouts to the water and cook until just crisp tender (meaning a skewer or paring knife inserted into the center meets with just a bit of resistance, about 5 minutes). Drain and immediately transfer to the ice bath and let sit for a few minutes. Drain the sprouts well and place on paper towel-lined baking sheet to dry completely.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick pan or cast iron pan over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Place the sprouts in the pan, cut side down and cook until the bottoms are golden brown and caramelized, about 3 minutes. Flip over and continue cooking until just heated through, about 1 minute. Add the pomegranate vinaigrette and the butter and cook, gently tossing until coated and slightly glazed, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and fold in the parsley.
Transfer Brussels sprouts to a platter, top with the pomegranate relish, the toasted pistachios and the fried leaves (see below).
To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread the nuts on a sheet pan in an even layer. Toast the nuts in the oven, shaking the pan once, until just fragrant, about 7 minutes. Remove to a rack and let cool completely. Transfer to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
To make the fried Brussels sprouts leaves: Heat the oil in an 8-inch nonstick pan over high heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the leaves in batches and cook until just fried and crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate or sheet pan lined with paper towels and sprinkle with salt.