It's been more than four years since I wrote my first ode to Brussels sprouts, the cute, grassy green little cabbages about the size of a golf ball. And I'm still amazed that despite New York Magazine declaring that "Vegetables are the New Meat," their reputation hasn't improved much more than rosé wine in some circles. (See this summer's post, No Way Rosé.) But Brussels sprouts are deliciously sweet with nutty overtones when they're cooked properly. And you can do almost anything you want to them--though I often default to a quick sauté and dressing them up in the salty goodness of Fra-Mani pancetta--as long as you don't boil them. They're even amenable to a little kick, like in this simple recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Sriracha and Mint from our friends the White on Rice Couple.
Brussels sprouts turn sweet when they're roasted, concentrating the earthy, just-dug-from-the-dirt qualities into flavors so sweet and caramelly you might be able to convince a blind-folded kid they're candy. The prickly heat of the Sriracha, umami-rich fish sauce and spicy garlic in the dressing are cut by the tang of lime juice and rice wine vinegar and the mint adds a lively, cooling freshness, all combining to make a very sophisticated side.
I'd pair this with a zesty, racy Oregon Pinot Blanc with luscious pear fruit and herb nuances like the 2009 Bethel Heights "Estate" Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Blanc ($14.99), or the invigorating stone fruit and tart green apple friendliness of an Oregon Pinot Gris like the 2009 O'Reilly's Oregon Pinot Gris ($11.99). Both wines would cut through the sweet flavors like a hot knife through butter, complementing the herbaceous mintiness and lifting the tangy notes until they sing like Tom Waits and Norah Jones in a haunting, earthy duet.