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Soy-glazed Brussels sprouts are savory starter

Get ’em while you can. Although Brussels sprouts have achieved mainstay status on some restaurant menus and are available year-round at many grocers, their high season has come and gone.

If you didn’t get your cold-weather fill, check out the recipes in this month’s Oregon Healthy Living magazine for maple syrup-glazed Brussels sprouts and oven-roasted crisp sprouts with bacon. The latter is similar in concept to Brussels sprouts leaves crisped in the wood-fired oven at Pie + Vine. The Ashland restaurant also does a brisk business in a Brussels sprouts salad with bacon, sliced pear and ricotta salata.

A favorite restaurant appetizer inspired a recent Los Angeles Times food column in which writer Ben Mims likens small Brussels sprouts to chicken meatballs glazed with a savory sauce that’s a staple of yakitori restaurants, where it’s known as tsukune. Mixed from soy sauce, mirin and brown sugar, tare is delicious on all manner of grilled meats and veggies. You may want to double the batch called for here and stash the leftovers in the fridge for marinating and glazing other foods. Tare keeps for two weeks.

Choose small sprouts, if possible, for this recipe, which aims for bite-size. Cut any sprouts larger than a golf ball in half.

Tsukune-Style Brussels Sprouts

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup mirin

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 pounds small Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed

In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, vinegar, pepper and 2/3 cup water; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove tare from heat and cool.

Heat oven to 400 F. Spread the Brussels sprouts on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and brush sprouts with some tare sauce, then return to oven and continue roasting, brushing with more glaze every few minutes, until sprouts are tender and sauce has reduced to a shiny glaze all over sprouts, for 15 to 20 minutes more.

Transfer warm sprouts to a flat platter and serve with toothpicks for spearing.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Tribune News Service photo