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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Haiku: Brussel Sprouts

why do they boil me
down to a mushy grey blob
I taste best roasted

Okay so maybe poetry is not my forte', but you get the point.

There is a subconcious list that we all carry around with us;

Things That Are Yucky
  1. Lima Beans
  2. Meatloaf
  3. Liver
  4. Brussel Sprouts
Where did we get this list? TV? Can't you just hear Bobby and Cindy Brady's little voices in your head bitching about what Alice made for dinner? Or, maybe your mom was like mine and would cook the hell out of everything - dry meat, formerly green vegetables boiled down to an unappetizing, soft, khaki mess. The woman could make a shaker of Italian seasoning - the only herbs we had in the house - last a year.

I like brussel sprouts. In all honesty, I like all four things on the above list. I figured out how to cook each of them so that they don't taste like poops, so that helps. I am going to tell you how I cook brussel sprouts so that they look like this:

...and taste nothing like the horrors of your youth.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Boil a pot of water, with a small handful of salt added.
Take each sprout, and slice in half the long way (as shown). Remove any outer leaves that may be dried out or brown.
When the water comes to a boil, add the sprouts. You will notice that they almost immediately become a more vivid green, isn't that pretty? Let them boil for about a minute, then drain.
In a large bowl, toss the sprouts with 1T olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. A little fresh garlic would also be very nice, here!
Spread sprouts on a baking sheet, put in oven.
Check after ten minutes, stir sprouts around on baking sheet so that they roast evenly.
Ten more minutes should do it, but if they don't look browned enough to you then by all means put them back in the oven! At this stage I would check every five minutes, and stir every time you pop them back in the oven.

So what is happening, here? First, you're parboiling the sprouts in the water. This cuts down on your roasting time, keeps the veg from drying out while they roast, and gives you that brilliant green color. The salt in the water brings out the flavor of the sprouts and helps maintain the green for the duration of the cooking process. Roasting the sprouts in the oil caramelizes the naturally occurring sugars and creates a wonderfully sweet nuance to the taste.

If you're not normally a fan of cruciferous veg anyway you may not like this, but you never know! I always thought I hated asparagus because my mother would boil it to limp and lifeless and then pour melted Velveeta all over the poor things. The first time I had it steamed I became a convert - then I had it grilled and it moved to the top of my List of Favorite Vegetables.

Yes I have one.

I make a lot of lists.

Don't judge m


Joshua Lewis said...

In the interest of recipe-blog cross-pollination, here's my friend Wayne's brussels sprouts, which has been my go-to recipe for them for about 5 years now. It is great, it is easy, you can make it as a snack when already drunk (at least once you're used to it).

Check out the rest of the blog too (and I am about to point him to yours :) )

Ryan said...

Sounds delicious. Maybe I'll give it a shot sometime.

Holly said...

Josh, I meant to ask you about that link - after you were talking about it last week! Very cool.

Yeah, same concept of caramelizing, really does wonders for the flavor.

I forgot to mention that when we ate at Hope & Olive, we discovered that they deep-fry brussel sprouts as an appetizer - no batter! - and serve them with a chipotle ranch dip and it is SO GOOD especially with beer.

leinaala said...

yums! my fave sprout recipe is super simple too--slice lengthwise, boil in chicken (or veggie) broth just until they're tender, then drain 'em and toss with soy sauce/garlic/ginger/honey/sesame seeds. takes about 5 minutes total and they're SO good!

emily said...

I've been making a great brussels sprouts recipe that came from GQ (of all places! also the source of my favourite cocktail of last summer, the Southside) which is basically a combo of your recipe and the panseared one. Put 'em in the pan cut-side down, fry until caramelized, then pop them up in the oven to finish. Season with lime juice and a little hot sauce, also crumbled bacon (that you cook in the pan & remove before putting the sprouts in) if you swing that way.

That deep-fried sprouts appetizer recipe sounds AMAZING!

Jennifer said...

We cheat and add crispy fried prosciutto too. :)

allenellisdewitt said...

I just made this tonight, Holly, and it went great! This was the first time I'd really had Brussel Sprouts, so I was a little worried, but you've steered me right in the past.