Appetizer Brussels Sprouts Steeped in Olive Oil and Fish Sauce

By December 9, 2016 March 10th, 2019 Appetizer, Gluten Free, Paleo, Recipes, Vegetables
Set these Brussels Sprouts Steeped in Olive Oil and Fish Sauce out on the counter for parties instead of olives. Your guests will be pleasantly surprised.

Appetizer Brussel Sprouts Steeped in Olive Oil and Fish Sauce

I ate these delicious Brussels sprouts at a restaurant in NYC called Prune and loved them so much I felt like  I had to get the recipe. Then the Universe provided it for me by posting it in the NY Times that weekend.  How great, synchronicity at it best. I love when things like that happen.

Appetizer Brussels Sprouts

This is one of the easiest ways to prepare Brussels Sprouts. It has only 4 ingredients.

Appetizer Brussels Sprouts Steeped in Olive Oil and Fish Sauce

Boiling the Brussels sprouts in salt water, with enough salt that it tastes like the sea, gives them a firm succulent texture.

The full-bodied olive oil and fish sauce marinade infuse the slightly bitter Brussels sprouts with a sweet salty taste.

Appetizer Brussels Sprouts Steeped in Olive Oil and Fish Sauce

Fish sauce gets its signature flavor from anchovies.  It is called nước mắm in Vietnamese which means literally “salted fish water.” nam pla in Thai. It is the seasoning that provides much of the elusive umami saltiness in South East Asian recipes.

It has a very short ingredients list, anchovies and salt. The recipe hasn’t changed much over the years. Salt, fish, pressure, and time. No water, just pure unadulterated essence of fermented fish.

I know many people don’t like anchovies but fish sauce has a wonderful umami flavor most people love. Fish sauce isn’t really all that fishy.

Since fish sauce is made using the entire fish – head, bones, guts, skin, and flesh – it’s going to be rich in B-vitamins and minerals.

Choose a fish sauce that does not contain added water, preservatives, sugar or MSG.

I like Red Boat Fish Sauce.  It is an all-natural, first press, “extra virgin” Vietnamese fish sauce which is made from a two hundred year-old, chemical free, artisanal process. Red Boat uses only the freshest cá com (black anchovy), salted minutes after leaving the sea then slowly aged for over a year in traditional wooden barrels. Red Boat anchovies are sourced exclusively from the crystal clear waters off the Phu Quoc Island archipelago.

When I was in Vietnam I had the pleasure of visiting a local fish sauce company.  You can see the vats of fermenting fish sauce sitting out in the sun. Did it smell?  Well not as much as you would expect.  There was certainly a fishy smell in the air but it wasn’t offensive at all.

Fish Sauce Vats

I hope you and your people enjoy these Brussels sprouts for many occasions.  Serve these briny, sweet delights as an appetizer or side dish along side fish or chicken.

Appetizer Brussels Sprouts Steeped in Olive Oil and Fish Sauce

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Appetizer Brussels Sprouts

Appetizer Brussel Sprouts Steeped in Olive Oil and Fish Sauce

  • Author: Ingrid DeHart -
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4


A marinade of full bodied olive oil and fish sauce gives the slightly bitter Brussels sprouts a firm succulent texture and sweet salty taste.




  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with coarse sea salt until it is really salty. It should taste like the ocean. Actually get a spoon and taste the boiling water. (let it cool for a minute so you don’t burn yourself). It’s the only way to know if it’s salty enough.
  2. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for about 10 minutes until they are barely tender. They should be just cooked through.
  3. Drain them in a colander and quickly transfer to a shallow bowl.
  4. While hot, pour on the olive oil and fish sauce
  5. Stir and taste one. Add another tiny splash of fish sauce if needed.
  6. Let the sprouts cool completely, resting and steeping for at least 1 hour or overnight in the refrigerator.
  7. Serve at room temperature.
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Category: Appetizer, Vegetable
  • Cuisine: Asian, Paleo, Healthy, Gluten Free

If you are vegan this dish can be made with wheat free tamari or Braggs Liquid Aminos.  The taste won’t be the same but they will still be good.


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