If you’re not from Chicago, you may not have heard about The Girl and the Goat, Stephanie Izard‘s restaurant on West Randolph. Like the name implies, the 4th season Top Chef winner serves up a fantastic goat leg that will melt in your mouth. She also has a pig face dish that you must promise me to order if you’re ever lucky enough to score a reservation there. But the meats are not what thrill me most about the Girl and the Goat. The vegetables are the main event. They are downright exciting, and demand center stage.
Steve and I are not organized enough to plan our restaurant reservations months in advance. But if we get to the Girl and the Goat before 7PM on a Saturday night, dangerously flirting with the senior citizen discount hour, we can score a seat in the lounge area which serves the full menu. Seated on couches, made younger by the crowd around us, we gorge on green beans and brussels sprouts, marveling at these crazy delicious vegetables. Until recently, the thought of duplicating these exotic veggies at home was a pipe dream. Then I got Stephanie Izard’s secret ingredient at a cooking demonstration by one of the Girl and the Goat chefs, and vegetables at home got a lot more interesting.
Are you ready for this? Stephanie Izard’s secret weapon that makes bowls of vegetables disappear is fish sauce. Yes. Fish sauce. That vile smelling condiment brings those notes of lip smacking umami to many of her vegetables. Start playing around with it and you’ll see that fish sauce is actually very smelly liquid gold.
Little Goat Market sells a pre-bottled sauce called Saute to duplicate her vegetables at home. I brought one home in my gift bag from the event, but I haven’t cracked it open yet. I was paranoid that I’d use it all up and be left craving more. Besides, it seemed more fun to experiment and create my own version of the rainbow Brussels sprouts they served us that day.
These Brussels sprouts are crunchy, sweet and salty. They disappear when I put them on the table. I put bacon in them, because, as you can tell from my recent posts, there’s somewhat of a bacon fest going on in my kitchen currently. There’s not a ton in the recipe, and leaving it out would be fine. Give these sprouts a try – they could be a nice addition to your holiday table next week.
- 2 cups of Brussels sprouts, cut into ⅓ inch slivers
- 3 rashers of bacon, diced into small squares
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Slice your Brussels sprouts, discarding the hard ends. Set aside.
- Dice the bacon.
- Heat a large frying pan on medium high heat. Add the bacon. Pan fry until just lightly browned.
- Add the Brussels sprouts. Turn the heat up to high. Pan fry for 5 minutes, until browned a little. Add the sugar and toss to coat. Pan fry for another two minutes, to caramelize.
- Add the other ingredients (mustard, fish sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar). Toss and stir energetically with a wooden spoon to completely coat. Keep the heat on high and bring to a quick boil for 1 minute.
- Taste, add salt and pepper if you feel the dish needs it.
- Serve immediately.