For years now, I’ve thought that brussel sprouts are one of the more under rated vegetables out there. I don’t like the really large ones. They’re the best when they’re small. A simple roasting with a garnish of shaved parmesan is my usual go-to. Steamed and then topped with some lawry’s is great too. And of course, sauted with some bacon lardons is simply magnificent. Then, Sarah told me that, when she had gone out to dinner with a friend for dinner at Mercadito, they had brussel sprouts with chorizo.
The grocery store that we usually go to has slowly been accumulating a large variety of chorizos over the past few weeks. By my count, they now have four different chorizos to choose from spread accross two locations in the store. Some are by the bacon and pork. The rest are by the eggs.
The kind I bought was made with pork. There was a beef option, but that just didn’t sound quite as indulgent as pork chorizo does. I picked up all of the different packages to get a sense of how they each felt. Having never bought chorizo before, I expected that they would feel like a hard pepperoni. But instead, they felt like squishy.
When I got home, I decided I would slice up chunks of the chorizo and saute it up. I would render the fat and then saute the brussel sprouts. But, when I looked at the package, one of the warnings was to remove the casing before eating. I thougth this was weird. The only other time I was warned to remove a casing before eating, it was a strange milk-white brat like sausage at Chriskindlemarket last year.
The warning was a useful one. The casing felt like plastic and probably was. I sliced the chorizo open and it was like I was touching water-logged wood pulp mixed with red dye. It was appalingly strange. I put it into a warm pan and started frying it. Slowly, the gross, pulpy slurry turned into a mouth-watering crumble of savory meatiness. My initial concerns were allayed.
Once the meat started to brown, I added some frozen baby sprouts until the sprouts were cooked through. I served this alongside some tilapia filets that I breaded and baked. I also heated up some leftover couscous from the night before. The sprouts and chorizo, mixed with the couscous was a pleasant surprise. The flavors, once mixed, all played quite nicely. Even Sarah, who generally tends to avoid mixing her side dishes, eagerly swirled these two sides into a wonderful melange of veggies and starch that cut the richness of the chorizo with remarkable balance.