I have hated Brussels sprouts since I was a kid. I hated them so much that I couldn’t even fulfill my parents’ “three bites” rule without gagging helplessly. Eventually my mom gave up trying to get me to eat them.
However, now that I am “grown up,” I’ve discovered there are many things that I used to loathe that I now really enjoy, such as beets. So I did a little Googling of Brussels sprouts and learned they are immigrants to North America; they came here from Europe and originally, it is thought, from Iran, Afghanistan, or Pakistan. A cold-season crop, they’re a relatively new edible; the first rough description of one was recorded in 1587. They got their name because the plant is supposed to have been grown since around then in the vicinity of Brussels in Belgium.
Fun facts: Belgians claim that the sprouts, eaten at the beginning of a meal, prevent intoxication, while Germans call them rosenkohl, for rose cabbages. Like its brethren kohlrabi, broccoli, and cabbages, the Brussels sprout belongs to Brassica oleracea genus of the Cruciferae family; the closely related Brassica campestris includes bok choy, turnip, mustards, rutabaga, and radish.
I struggle to enjoy any Brassica, but Brussels sprouts are the worst. In the past year, I’ve been able to tolerate them as accompaniments in restaurants, so when I saw this beautiful branch of buds at Berkeley Bowl (California grown, supposedly) for just $2, I thought I’d finally attempt to cook them. I tried halving them, tossing them in olive oil, and roasting them with salt and pepper until they were just tender, then squeezing some lemon juice on them. They were not gag-worthy, but they were still really bitter, like tiny versions of the cabbage I also have to force down. Later I sautéed them with Tuscan chili olive oil in a pan until soft, but … eh.
So I’m asking: anyone have any favorite recipes that could turn me into a lover of the little green lumps?