A Recipe for Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Lemon, Pecorino and Toasted Pistachios

A recipe for pan-fried brussels sprouts, excerpted from the cookbook A Generous Meal by Christine Flynn

I grew up eating Brussels sprouts that had been boiled to an anemic state, each with a deep “X” cut into its base. It wasn’t until I was a student in New York and tried my first deep-fried Brussels sprout at a David Chang restaurant that I realized I had been missing out on an incredibly versatile and flavourful vegetable. Although this recipe sidesteps the deep fryer, cooking the Brussels sprouts in a cast iron skillet really brings out their texture and nuttiness. Lemon and pecorino cheese make this dish bright, and adding pistachios makes it so craveable and moreish that it never lasts long.

Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Pecorino

Serves 4


Toasted Pistachios

  • 2 cups (500 mL) shelled raw pistachios

Brussels Sprouts

  • ¼ cup (60 mL) neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
  • 1½ pounds (675 g) Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon (2 mL) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard Pinch of dried red chilies
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) pistachio oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) toasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1 cup (250 mL) finely grated pecorino cheese


Toasted Pistachios

I don’t think a nut exists that doesn’t benefit from a quick ride in the oven. Toasting nuts intensifies their flavour and dries them out just a touch so that they grow a little more delicious and a little crunchier as well. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference, and so I do recommend, if you have the time and the oven space—and most importantly the inclination—that you toast your nuts. What follows is less a recipe and more of a loose method, since the nut you choose will determine your exact toasting time. If you want to toast a few different nuts together, make sure they are all the same general size or else their toasting times will be different.

Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the nuts in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes (or 6 minutes if they are very small nuts like pine nuts). Remove the baking sheet from the oven, give the nuts a stir, and check to see if they are golden and smell nuttier than they did before they went in the oven. You’re going to have to use your judgment here, but I find 8 minutes to be a good amount of time for a light toast on a medium-size nut. For a darker toast, or a larger nut, return to the oven for 2 to 4 minutes and then check again. Repeat as necessary, until your nuts are perfectly golden brown. Let cool.

Store the toasted nuts in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Brussels Sprouts

In a medium cast iron skillet, heat about half of the neutral oil over high heat, until it starts to shimmer. Add about half of the Brussels sprouts and sprinkle with about half of the salt. Let the sprouts caramelize over high heat without stirring for 1 to 2 minutes, reducing the heat if they start to look too dark. Stir once. Continue to cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until the sprouts are charred but still crunchy. Transfer the sprouts to a large bowl or platter. Repeat with the remaining oil, Brussels sprouts, and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon, chilies, lemon juice, and pistachio oil. Drizzle the mixture over the sprouts. Add the pistachios and about half of the pecorino. Toss well to combine. Top with the remaining pecorino. Serve immediately.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

A Generous Meal Hero

Excerpted from A Generous Meal by Christine Flynn. Copyright © 2023 Christine Flynn. Photographs by Suech and Beck. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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Originally Published in Best Health Canada