Brussels Sprouts, Crispy with Lemon, Capers and Pecorino

Summary: Recently, while lunching at a popular DC restaurant (Blue Duck Tavern), I ordered a side of its Crispy Brussels sprouts with lemon, caper and pecorino. Every bite was a shut-your-eyes, revel-in-the-bliss thrill. I returned home determined to recreate the dish. And here it is. Don't be scared about the olive oil. Just go with it and think of the good fats within! You'll need a splatter screen and an infrared or candy thermometer (or at least one that can quickly measure the temp of hot oil).

Yield: serves 2-4


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, cut into halves if small or third if large
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small dried peperoncino
  • zest of 1 lemon + 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, separated
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers (or drained and sliced caper berries)
  • at least 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • at least 1/3 cup grated pecorino


In a 10" iron skillet (or something similarly heavy and good with heat retention) set over medium-high heat, pour the oil. Using your thermometer, continue measuring until the oil reaches 350° Fahrenheit.

When it reaches that, toss in the peperoncino and the lemon zest. Add a third to a half of the Brussels sprouts (you'll need to do this in batches), at least 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, quickly cover with the splatter screen, and cook for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan (with an oven-mitt gloved hand) often stirring when you can. Be careful. The oil will spit and it's hot!

After 2-3 minutes, use a slotted spoon to transfer the sprouts to a paper towel-lined plate. Add the rest of the sprouts and repeat all this.

Once all are fried, toss sprouts, lemon juice, capers and pecorino in a mixing bowl. Taste and season with salt, lemon and/or pecorino. Enjoy!