Sap in maple trees starts to run when temperatures are mild during the day and freezing at night, so sugaring season in Vermont is kicking off soon. Today’s Virtual Potluck features maple products from Coombs Family Farms in Brattleboro, Vermont, a company that supports small family farms and sustainable agriculture. To see other recipes featuring maple products, visit the host for this potluck, Thyme in Our Kitchen.
I have been a huge fan of pure maple syrup ever since I lived in the Boston area. We’re not talking about that stuff you put on your pancakes when you were a kid. We’re talking about real 100% organic maple syrup that is harvested from trees grown without pesticides.
I like using a touch of maple syrup in certain recipes when I need a hint of sweetness. It’s higher on the glycemic index (54) than agave nectar (15-30) and raw honey (30), but it’s lower than table sugar (80) and refined honey (75). Maple syrup is a fine sweetener when used in small doses, but I wouldn’t go and drown your waffles in it. A little goes a long way.
Maple syrup is classified in the U.S. into two basic categories: Grade A and Grade B. Within the Grade A classification there are three subcategories: Light Amber, Medium Amber and Dark Amber. Grade B syrups are darker in color with a richer maple flavor and can be a great “secret ingredient” in recipes. I love using it to make a variant on honey-mustard salad dressing which lends spicy sweetness to everything from salads with butternut squash to roasted brussels sprouts.
Fun fact: The correct spelling is brussels sprouts (there is an “s” at the end of brussel). The plant is named after the capital of Belgium, even though there is little evidence to suggest it came from there originally.
Roasted brussels sprouts are not the most photogenic vegetables, but they are both tender and crisp with a nutty, smoky flavor. If you roast your sprouts until they are blackened, they will still taste great (the black bits are The Grillmaster’s favorites). If you prefer yours to be more green, just peel off the outer layers after roasting.
Disclaimer: I received a free bottle of Grade B Organic Maple Syrup from Coombs Family Farms.
Maple Mustard Brussels Sprouts
Adapted from Diabetes Forecast (May 2010)
2 lbs brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Homemade White Wine Mustard or any other coarse-grained mustard
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (I used Grade B from Coombs Family Farms)
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on pan in a single layer, allowing space around each sprout.
Roast for about 45 minutes, shaking the baking sheet every 15 minutes or so. You want the sprouts dark and crispy, but not burned.
Meanwhile, mix together the mustard and maple syrup in a large bowl. When the brussels sprouts are done, add them to the bowl and toss with the maple mustard mixture. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving: 92 calories, 4g fat (1g sat), 0mg cholesterol, 178mg sodium, 12g carb, 4g fiber, 4g sugar, 4g protein
Nutritional Analysis: Nutritional information was calculated using prepared mustard which contains quite a bit of sodium. If you are watching your sodium intake, eliminate or reduce the salt in this recipe or make your own mustard so you can control the amount of sodium it contains.