A Lunch Recipe You Never Knew You Needed: Charred Brussels Sprout Toast with Ricotta

A recipe for charred Brussels sprout toast with ricotta, excerpted from the cookbook Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files, by Deb Perelman

One of my favorite recipes I learned in my early blogging years is a wildly simple sauté of shredded Brussels sprouts with lemon juice and garlic from the Union Square Cafe. It includes poppy seeds, but I never added them. You’re supposed to cook the sprouts for just a few minutes, so they’re just tender, still green, and somewhat crisp. But let’s say, just for a random example, what if you’re an easily distracted cook? You might dis-cover that Brussels sprouts cooked to a light char—a poetic way of saying I burned them—crispy in some places, a little green in the others (the ones I had not yet burned), are fantastic. I meant to do that! (Hair flip, nail buff, etc.) And here, in this recipe, I really do. I take those Brussels sprouts and heap them on olive-oil-fried, garlic-rubbed toasts, add hazelnuts for crunch, ricotta for richness. Lemon juice goes on at the end, where it’s the brightest. Is this dinner? Do you eat it as a snack as you stand in the kitchen?

That’s between you and your toasts, and I would never want to interfere.

Charred Brussels Sprout Toast with Ricotta

Makes 6 toasts


  • Olive oil
  • 6 slices (½-inch-thick, medium-sized) sourdough or country bread
  • 1 garlic clove, halved Kosher salt
  • 1 pound (455 grams) Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved lengthwise, sliced ⅛ inch thick, or 12 ounces (340 grams) sliced Brussels sprouts
  • Freshly ground black pepper 1 medium lemon
  • 1 cup (250 grams) whole-milk ricotta
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • ½ cup (80 grams) hazelnuts, toasted, loose skins removed, coarsely chopped


Drizzle a large pan lightly with olive oil, and add as many bread slices as fit in one layer. turn the heat to medium, and cook until golden brown and toasted underneath, about 4 minutes. flip, and toast the second side, about 1 minute more, then set toast aside on a plate. repeat with the remaining bread, adding more oil as needed. remove from heat and rub toasts with the halves of the garlic clove, and sprinkle with salt.

Increase the heat to medium/medium-high, and add enough oil to recoat the pan well. Heat the oil until hot, and add the brussels sprouts. season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and let them cook undisturbed until well browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes. flip, and let the second side brown well underneath, 2 to 4 minutes more. stir once or twice, and repeat this browning-and-flipping process until the brussels have charred spots all over. remove from the heat, and squeeze the juice of half your lemon over the top. taste, and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Spread each slice of bread thickly with ricotta. Heap the ricotta with the charred brussels sprouts. finish with another drizzle of oil, squeeze of lemon juice, salt, and red-pepper flakes, to taste. scatter with hazelnuts.

Smitten Kitchen Keepers

Excerpted from Smitten Kitchen Keepers: New Classics for Your Forever Files. Copyright © 2022 by Deb Perelman. Photography copyright © 2022 by Deb Perelman. Book Design by Cassandra J. Pappas. Jacket Photography by Deb Perelman. Food Styling by Barret Washburne. Published by Appetite by Random House, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

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