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Celebrate Thanksgiving With Carla Lalli Music

Host and cookbook author Carla Lalli Music shares a delicious Brussels sprouts recipe as well as make-ahead tips for the big meal

Thanksgiving With Carla Lalli Music

Carla Lalli Music is the author of the Where Cooking Begins and That Sounds So Good and the host of Carla’s Cooking Show. Formerly the food director of Bon Appétit, she lives in Brooklyn with her family. Her recipe for Sautéed Brussels with Sesame is featured in her cookbook, That Sounds So Good.

This quick-sautéed Brussels sprouts with walnuts dish exemplifies one of the smartest entertaining strategies: get your busy work out of the way early and ask little of the host on the actual party day. The busy work in this case is a semi-fussy process of coring and unfurling many dozens of Brussels sprouts. My recommendation is to follow my mother, Carole’s lead, and outsource this job to anyone in your household who might like the chance to consume some compelling television content—a football game, perhaps? That’s what gets my father, Frank, to set up a post at TVHQ, but there are plenty of shows to choose from these days! With a cutting board where a TV tray may have been, this person’s job will be to tackle what is known in my family as “The Brussels Prep.”

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This process involves coring each tiny little cabbage and then separating the leaves so that they can be stir-fried over high heat in the minutes leading up to the Thanksgiving meal. Before that can happen, every leaf must be liberated from the rest, and it has to be done right. Because this laborious prep can be done days in advance, there’s at least some amount of balance to the whole affair. Yes, it’s a lot of vegetable butchery. But! It’s easy. And! You can do it on the Monday before T-Day. Plus! The dish itself takes minutes to prepare.

The original Lalli family version of this dish pairs toasted walnuts with walnut oil, but for the recipe here, I’ve substituted toasted sesame oil, which the average household may already have on hand (and if not, it’s very easy to find). The real key to this dish is a very hot cast-iron pan and the cook’s commitment to not overcooking the leaves. They should be bright green, charred in spots, sweet and a little crunchy.

Carla Lalli Music


Sautéed Brussels with Sesame from That Sounds So Good

4 servings

½ cup walnuts
1 pound Brussels sprouts
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt; freshly ground pepper
Toasted sesame oil, for drizzling

Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 350°F. Place the walnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet and roast until they’re a couple of shades darker and fragrant, 10 minutes, tossing halfway through. Spread them over a cutting board and let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, use a paring knife to trim bottom of the sprouts, then cut out the cores. Peel back and pry off the leaves, working your way to the center and dropping the leaves into a large bowl as you go. Set aside.

Heat a large (10-inch) cast-iron or other heavy skillet over high. Pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil, and when it’s shimmering, add half the Brussels sprout leaves. Season with salt and pepper and cook, tossing often, until the leaves are wilted and dark brown in spots but still crunchy, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with remaining olive oil and Brussels sprout leaves. When second batch is cooked, return the first batch to the pan and toss to heat through. Add the walnuts and a drizzle of sesame oil and toss to combine.

Excerpted from That Sounds So Good by Carla Lalli Music. Copyright © 2021 by Carla Lalli Music. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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That Sounds So Good by Carla Lalli Music
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That Sounds So Good
By Carla Lalli Music
Hardcover $35.00
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Where Cooking Begins by Carla Lalli Music
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Where Cooking Begins
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