A recipe for Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts dressed with Pickled Raisins and Black Walnuts in a Balsamic Reduction. The nicest part of this recipe is you don’t need to have pickled raisins you’re going to make them. And they are everything!
I came across pickled raisins when we attended a Beer and Cheese Pairing. I suspiciously tasted one with a tidbit of cheese, it was like a pillow of flavor bursting against the cheese, essentially balancing the bite perfectly, right in my mouth.
I was smitten.
So I bought a jar to play around with and nibble on, also to figure out how to make my own version of them.
Quick Pickled Raisins
I did some Internet research once I got home and found a few recipes for different pickled dried fruits. Many of them called for simmering the dried fruits in vinegar while adding other flavors to the mix like wine, spices and herbs. My head got to working on the idea of pickling raisins in balsamic vinegar and it was an easy jump to reducing the vinegar while simultaneously pickling the raisins. I love the fact that you’re basically making homemade pickled raisins directly IN the balsamic dressing reduction for the brussels sprouts.
I’ll admit the black walnuts were impulsive, yet their funky tang was the perfect touch to the dressing and they hold up better than you’d think to simmer. Use English walnuts if you need to, but if you can lay your hands on black walnuts I highly recommend them for their flavor. These are another new discovery for me, for years I was determined to despise them. And I did until I tried them again as an adult.
- 3/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup of golden raisins
- 1/4 cup black walnuts pieces
- 1 TBSP honey
- salt, to taste
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed if needed and cut in half
- 1 1/2 TBSP oil
- in a small sauce pan over medium heat bring the vinegar, raisins and walnuts to a boil
- stir in the honey and reduce the heat to medium low
- cook stirring occasionally until the vinegar is reduced by a little over half, about 15-20 minutes
- it should be thicker and syrupy
- do not let it burn
- once it's done set it aside to cool while you roast the brussels sprouts
- pour the oil in a large frying pan, place over medium heat
- once the oil is hot but not smoking lay the brussels sprouts cut side down
- let them cook about 5 minutes
- turn them over and 3 more minutes
- then stir them gently for about 2 minutes or until cooked, the goal is to get them cooked without having them come completely apart so don't sauté them or get wild turning them but do move them around a bit
- once cooked to your liking, no more than 10 minutes, remove from the heat
- stir the balsamic dressing, taste for salt, add as needed
- spoon the dressing with raisins and walnuts over the sprouts, making sure to get a little dressing on each sprout or just toss the two together if that's how you like it
- when serving make sure everyone gets some of the pickled raisins and black walnuts
you can make the vinegar reduction up to 3 days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator. To warm it up just pour it into a small sauce pan, set it over a very low temperature burner, stirring occasionally until warmed through, be sure you don't reduce it more or burn it.