Genius Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce: These are the brussels sprouts of your dreams. Beautifully crispy, but tender on the inside and tossed with a salty fish sauce vinaigrette. From the Food52 Genius Recipes Cookbook! |
Easy Eats

Genius Brussels Sprouts

Welcome to Spring Cookbook Week on Macheesmo! I’ll be posting recipes from five cookbooks this week and giving away copies! All winners will be announced next Friday (06/05).

Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite veggie side dishes and I’m really happy that they are having a resurgence in the US right now. I’ve seen them on the menu in a few different restaurants recently as standalone appetizers.

If prepared correctly, they can be really delicious and a great start to a meal (or a side).

“Prepared correctly” is the tricky part though. There’s a lot that can go wrong. Sometimes they just fall apart. Sometimes they get mushy. Sometimes they are just bland.

This recipe though has exactly zero of those issues and completely conquers Brussels sprouts. I’ll probably have them prepared other ways, but I’m not sure I need them in any other way. This is pretty much my dream crispy Brussels sprouts recipe.

The recipe is from the new Food52 cookbook, Genius Recipes, which basically compiles the best of the best from their website and a bunch of other sources. I think you could probably find most of these recipes if you dug around the Internet or through various cookbooks, but it’s nice to have them all compiled together.

This Brussels Sprouts recipe, from David Chang of Momofuku fame is about as sexy as Brussels sprouts can get.

Genius Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce: These are the brussels sprouts of your dreams. Beautifully crispy, but tender on the inside and tossed with a salty fish sauce vinaigrette. From the Food52 Genius Recipes Cookbook! |

Crispy Brussels Sprouts w/ Fish Sauce Vinaigrette

Just a moment please...

Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Perfectly crispy Brussels Sprouts with a tangy and salty fish sauce vinaigrette. My ideal Brussels sprouts and possibly the perfect vegetable side.


2 pounds brussels sprouts, halved
Neutral oil, for frying
Fish sauce vinaigrette:
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 lime, juice only
1/4 cup sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1-3 red chiles, thin sliced
2 tablespoons minced cilantro, stems and leaves
3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
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1) For sprouts, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat about 2 tablespoons oil in two oven safe skillets over medium heat. Add sprouts, cut-side down to the skillets. You’ll need two to hold all the sprouts. Don’t pile them in one skillet.

2) After bottoms of sprouts begin to brown, about five minutes, transfer skillets to oven to finish roasting for 10-15 minutes until they are really crispy on the bottom and around the edges. Don’t stir them or touch them.

For sauce, combine fish sauce, water, vinegar, lime, sugar, garlic, and chiles in a bowl. Taste for salt. if it’s too salty, add more water. Right before serving, combine this base with cilantro and mint.

Drizzle roasted sprouts with the vinaigrette and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe from Genius Recipes.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts prep

I used to spend the time to chop off all the little stems on Brussels sprouts but if you try to get the smaller ones, this step is pretty stupid. Just slice them in half and leave the stem. It’s no problem to eat it and it keeps all the leaves together.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts prep.

Don’t fuss with the stems.

The key to these sprouts is to start them on the stovetop but finish them in the oven and no matter what you do: don’t touch them. Don’t stir them. Don’t poke them. Don’t fiddle.

If you’re cooking a full two pounds of sprouts, you’ll need more than one skillet so you can cook them in a single layer. Heat some neutral oil in a large skillet over medium heat and lay out all the sprouts, cut-side down.

Searing crispy Brussels Sprouts.

Getting seared.

Let those cook for about five minutes and they will start to get some color on them already.

Crisping Sprouts.

A good start.

Transfer them to a 400 degree oven and let them roast for another 10 minutes or so. This will cook the sprouts through and make them really nice and crispy on the bottoms.

Umami Fish Sauce Vinaigrette

This is some dreamy sauce. It’s light, but super-flavorful. It starts with fish sauce. I’ve been using this brand recently and like it a lot, but any brand will work. Some brands are saltier than others and you might have to adjust the sauce at the end with a little more lime or water if you have a saltier brand.

Fish sauce for sprouts.

Umami central.

Mix in the fish sauce with the water, garlic, chiles, vinegar, lime, and sugar. Smells good already.

Vinaigrette for crispy Brussels sprouts.

Spicy and garlic packed!

Right before you serve the sprouts, hit them with the chopped cilantro and mint. If you add this too soon it’ll turn brownish. It’s best really nice and fresh.

Fish sauce dressing.

Stems and all.

All together Now

Remember those sprouts in the oven? This is what happened to them and I tell you it’s beautiful.

Crispy Brussels sprouts.

YES. This.

As soon as they come out of the oven, toss them with big spoonfuls of the vinaigrette and serve them while warm or at room temperature.

I would put these up against any Brussels sprout side dish out there. They are a delicious masterpiece.

Genius Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce: These are the brussels sprouts of your dreams. Beautifully crispy, but tender on the inside and tossed with a salty fish sauce vinaigrette. From the Food52 Genius Recipes Cookbook! |

Genius Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Fish Sauce: These are the brussels sprouts of your dreams. Beautifully crispy, but tender on the inside and tossed with a salty fish sauce vinaigrette. From the Food52 Genius Recipes Cookbook! |

Let’s talk cookbook!

The Genius Recipes Giveaway!


Like I said a bit before, this book is a crowd-sourced book, but sourced from the most experienced of crowds. It has about 100 recipes and 250 pages. That ratio may seem a bit off, but I’ll tell you that the recipes are very meticulous in their writing and direction. I read through a few of the more complicated ones and they removed any doubt I would have at any point in the recipe.

It’s a beautiful book and while you (probably) could find most of the recipes in it on other sources (about half of them are on the website), it’s also nice to have a compendium on your shelf. I can tell you that I personally earmarked enough of the recipes in it that the earmarks lost their meaning. Every fifth page was earmarked.

I’m not usually into crowd-sourced projects, but just because of the experts they pulled from (Judy Rodgers, Yotam Ottolenghi, Dan Barber, Michael Ruhlman, Marcella Hazan, etc…) I think this book is a great addition to any cookbook shelf.

Let’s give away two copies! Use the widget below to enter or just leave a comment to be entered!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Congrats to Alyson (Facebook) and Carol (comment) for winning!

40 comments on “Genius Brussels Sprouts

  1. I love the idea of this book! Do you think soy sauce would work instead of fish sauce for a vegetarian, or would it need to be diluted? (Or do you have another suggestion!)

  2. Always on the look out for new ways to serve Brussels sprouts a favorite in our house, plus another book for my collection wouldn’t hurt either !

  3. I’ve been on a serious kick with asian-style sauces and marinades, so this sounds awesome right now!

  4. I love Brussels sprouts and I just got a new bottle of fish sauce! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  5. I made the switch to Red Boat a few years ago and have never gone back to the bottle with the pink crabs on it ;-). I love sprouts made like this, they taste candied!

  6. Well, this one is now in my “to make” list. I’m deathly allergic to chilis and peppers do you suppose it would hurt just to leave them out or should I replace them with something? Thanks.

  7. I have been eating healthier for little over a year now and it’s been great but eating steamed veggies can get a little blaa sometimes so I’m very please with this recipe and the tip of cutting them in half thanks! P.S the pictures are very nice

  8. Thank You for this recipe and a oriental influence with Brussels Sprouts. They have been a long standing tradition in my family. My mother lived in France and learned how to cook them properly: never boiled, cut the bottoms and slice them in the middle. This approach shortens the time of cooking and allows them to obtain a golden color. Sautéed them in a deep pan so they get soften with a little butter or olive oil. A few slices of garlic, a touch of lemon juice, salt and some cracked pepper is enough to enhance their flavor. Also, you can add some slices of ham, chicken or sausages. I am so glad Brussels Sprouts are getting the recognition they deserve..

  9. So, is this a recipe that makes brussels sprouts that aren’t sour and cabbage-y tasting (and smelling)? Because if it even smells like cabbage, I’ll throw up (never been able to tolerate the stench)…but we do need more veggie variety in a bad way.

    1. Haha. Well, they do roast so they kind of smell like that I guess, but the sauce completely kills any of that traditional sprouts smell. Sounds like you don’t like brussels sprouts! ;)

  10. These sprouts look amazing! I love fried/roasted brussel sprouts, they are definitely one of my favorite veggies.

  11. i like both sprouts and fish sauce, but many don’t like either! i wonder if together, magic can happen?

  12. I don’t really like Brussels sprouts when I have made them before, but this method and the other ingredients make it seem that I would like it. You really can’t go too wrong with fish sauce, lime and red chilies! I will definitely try this. Thank you so much for posting!

  13. Asian style Brussels Sprouts…..That reads like an absolute Dream come true to me!!!!
    Thank-You so much for posting this one, Nick.
    I honestly can not wait to make them!!!
    I am a Cook Book Junkie…..LOL :-)

  14. I have had good luck with roasting brussel sprouts in a little chicken stock just until they are tender. Add chunks of pepper bacon, squash, red onion, and garlic. My children even dont turn up their noses at them.

  15. I wasn’t as thrilled with this recipe as I normally am with most Macheesmo content.The sprouts themselves were great, but the fish sauce was overpowering for both myself and my boyfriend. However, I would definitely make them again, but maybe only with a few tablespoons of fish sauce and some added soy sauce.

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