Harissa Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Garlic Aioli are a fun, easy, spicy side dish to perk up your nightly dinner routine. Change things up a little bit with these pan fried Brussels sprouts and garlicky dipping sauce.
A few weeks ago Braden and I were heading out for date night without a plan in mind. We tend to do that, we like to walk and wander until we find a restaurant that catches our attention or some other activity of interest.
That night we stumbled into a new restaurant that had opened just a few minutes from our apartment. It was a more modern take on Austrian food and it’s pretty hard to resist any menu that has a variety of schnitzel and house made sausage. The one item that caught our eye and we pretty much always order was an appetizer of spicy brussels sprouts, peppers and aioli dipping sauce. What appeared in front of us was probably the best tasting Brussels sprout dish I had enjoyed in a long while. They sourced giant sprouts, topped it with smoked paprika and just for a little more kick the aioli was loaded with habanero.
As we strolled around our neighborhood walking off dinner and stumbling into a wine tasting at the local wine shop, I couldn’t stop thinking about that dish. I needed to make it at home and it needed to happen soon.
I’m not normally one for either a) super spicy dishes or b) mayo but there’s something about house made aioli. It’s luscious, it packs that garlicky punch and finishing notes of lemon and I’ll happily dip anything into it. Plus for something that sounds fancy, it’s so easy to make at home.
As I gathered my ingredients to remake my dish, I stumbled upon the spice aisle at the grocery store. It seems that my well stocked spice cabinet was missing Hungarian paprika (that’s the one that packs the spicy punch). I picked up the tin, looked up and spotted harissa. If you aren’t familiar with this spice, you should be – it’s spicy but not burn your mouth off so. Harissa is a blend of roasted red japone peppers, cumin, coriander, Hungarian and California paprika, garlic, salt and caraway. A little bit goes a long way and offers a more complex taste with just a little dash.
I wanted to recreate that dish but also make it a little bit of my own, this way when I return back to the restaurant I can still enjoy their version just as much.