This recipe was inspired by a lovely meal I once shared with Emma Frisch in a hotel room in LA while we were filming Food Network Star. It was a rare occasion that we were allowed to eat with anyone other than ourselves, but on this particular occasion they let it slide. We ordered take-out from a place I cannot remember the name of, and opted to share a few different dishes. We arranged our spread out on my desk, set up the ironing board as a table, then perched on the edge of my bed to dine.
I remember all of the food being really good that night, but we could not get over the brussels sprouts. Incredibly buttery, roasted to perfection, with a hint of lemon and tangy capers. They had anchovy in the title, but you couldn’t really tell they were in there. That’s one of the reasons why I love cooking with anchovies – they’re masters of deception.
If you think you don’t like anchovies, think again. Caesar salad, anyone? It’s one of the most popular salads in America and it’s always made with ‘chovies. They give a nutty, salty, complex umami flavor that you really can’t get from any other ingredient. They might smell fishy coming out of the jar, but once they melt in with the sauce that all disappears. Sure, you could probably make this recipe without them and still have good results (I mean, anything with this much butter is going to be good), but the anchovies will surely send it over the top.
That night our sprouts were served over a piece of buttery toasted bread to make for a super indulgent appetizer that still felt kinda healthy because, well, vegetables! But you can totally omit the bread for an equally amazing side dish. Chaser declared this his favorite way to eat brussels sprouts, and once you give it a try I reckon it will become yours too.
- 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and pepper as needed
- 2-5 anchovy fillets packed in oil
- 1 small lemon, juiced (use 1/2 larger lemon)
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed*
- 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Optional, but recommended: 2 thick slices Italian bread pan toasted in 2 tablespoons butter.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then spread out on to a baking sheet cut side down. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until deep brown and caramelized.
- In the meantime, add the anchovies to a large skillet over medium heat and use a fork to mash them into the pan until broken up. Add lemon juice and mix until anchovies have dissolved. Add capers, then lower the heat and slowly stir in the butter.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed - it likely won’t need any. Stir in the parsley and serve over top of the toasted bread or on their own. Garnish with more parsley if desired.
- *Rinsing the capers under water is an important step to remove their powerful brine.