Veg Out: Terra Plata
Normally, I am not a wild-cabbage-two-nights-in-a-row kind of person. But two Fridays ago, I had the maple-rosemary Brussels sprouts at Terra Plata. And the next night, I set to work making this:
I have our server to thank. Terra Plata serves several veggie-friendly small plates, including:
housemade potato chips cut into unreasonably cute little mini-waffles;
blistered shisito peppers with sea salt and aioli;
risotto with mushrooms, pea vines, and goat cheese;
and cappelletti with rouge de tomme squash, lemon, hazelnuts, and parmesan.
We ordered them all, in spite of not being able to figure out what rouge de tomme means, even with smartphone assistance.
“And you wanted an order of the Brussels sprouts,” our server said.
Notice that there is no question mark at the end of that sentence.
This was a command. A gentle command, but a command nonetheless. Her tone was Obi-Wan Kenobi-like.
Jules and I gave each other our “mutually confused” look, and I explained that we are vegetarian.
The sprouts are usually served with bacon. Our server said that she could remove it from our order, no problem.
No problem indeed.
Bitter sprouts, fried until nutty with crispy charred bits, coated in sweet maple syrup, and finished with rosemary.
We ordered extra bread to sop up every last bit of the sauce.
For dessert, Jules had an apple empanada with crème fraiche ice cream.
And then there were churros.
Sometimes, when I am at sporting events, I smell the smell from the roasted nut stand and I think they are selling churros somewhere, but they are not. Then I spend the rest of the night thinking about how I would gladly gnaw off my left arm and trade it for a churro. That is how much I love churros, so it is not easy for me to say this: Terra Plata’s were all crispy cinnamon-sugar shards on the outside, all puffs of steam and dough on the inside. The taste made up for the presentation, which seemed unnecessarily … swirled. They still paled in comparison to those Brussels sprouts. I continue to sleep with one eye open.
1501 Melrose Avenue (near the South end of Melrose Market)
Seattle, WA 98122
Brussels Sprouts and Tofu with Maple Syrup and Rosemary
A few months ago, I tried a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty that uses maple syrup in a sauce for stir-fried Brussels sprouts and tofu, but the other ingredients (chili sauce, soy sauce) overwhelmed the maple flavor. Terra Plata’s version is much simpler. Obi-Wan explained that they flash fry the sprouts in neutral oil, and then toss them with syrup and rosemary. At home, I used Terra Plata’s flavors and the cooking method from Plenty. We ate ours with brown rice.
Trim one pound of Brussels sprouts. Cut each sprout into three slices, each about 1/4-inch thick. The slices will fall apart in the pan. This is good. Heat about a tablespoon of neutral oil (I used canola oil) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sprouts to the pan and season with salt. Cook the spouts until they all have a few crispy, charred bits. This will work best if you don’t move them around too much. Then remove them from the skillet to a large bowl. Add another tablespoon of oil to the skillet, and add the tofu. Cook the tofu until golden brown on all sides. Add the tofu to the bowl of Brussels sprouts. Add a quarter cup of maple syrup and about a tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary. Toss the sprouts and tofu to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.