Sprouting a new appreciation

brusselsprouts_jan07.jpgA big shout-out to all you passionate Brussel-sprout lovers — Stonefruit in particular — as I have finally had a pleasant experience with the cabbagey kids!

I waited until the weather turned frosty, as what's bad for citrus is good for sweetening Brassica oleracea, you all said, to buy some loose, tightly closed, hard buds from Riverdog Farms. I plucked Stonefruit's recipe out of the bountiful comment section to try first because I had pecans in the freezer. (I only recently learned that these nuts' oils may turn them rancid after a few weeks in a bag; mine just used to get soft.) Here are her/his directions:

1. Cut the sprouts in half and steam them until they’re nearing fork-tenderness.

2. Saute some chopped garlic in butter and olive oil. (Cast-iron might be good; I just use a regular, not-non-stick saute pan.) After you’ve sweated the garlic briefly, with the flame on medium heat, add the Brussels sprouts along with some pecans, kosher salt, black pepper, and thyme. Toss everything together, and arrange the sprouts cut-side down (a set of tongs works well for this).

3. Let the sprouts brown on the bottom and serve. They’re garlicky, toasty, and nutty.

Indeed they were. And boy, was that preferable to "bitter, limp, and lifeless," my previous associations. I can honestly say I found these sprouts tasty!

Thanks to Stonefruit and everyone else who shared their tastebud-changing recipes. I'll report back on my next Brassica foray — which I am pretty sure will be Joanne's Brussel Sprouts with Walnuts and Pancetta.

9 Responsesto “Sprouting a new appreciation”

  1. Tana says:

    This is spooky. I hate those vegetables more than anything God ever grew. But last week at Gabriella Cafe, chef Rebecca King served them with our entrées. I was crestfallen. But I made myself take a bite, and then proceeded to steal some from Bob's plate.

    It will probably be a while before I gather the courage to buy them, but by golly, they were great. What a relief to be done with one more fear in life.

  2. Lauren says:

    I am also a pretty recent Brussels sprouts convert, and although the smell of them cooking still sometimes reminds me of old shoe, I can safely say they're one of my favorite things to eat. I make a big batch and have them hot with dinner, then snack on the leftovers at room temp the next day. They make a great antipasto.

    I usually boil them whole til they've softened a little -- about 4 minutes -- then halve them, toss them in olive oil, sea salt, and lots of black pepper, and then spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast them for about 15-20 minutes, turning them a couple of times. The darker they brown, the more they caramelize. The sweetness is key. :)

  3. ann says:

    Looks like you're getting a pretty good grip on cooking the sprouts on the stovetop, but your next foray into brussling should definitely involve the oven. Oven roasted Brussels sprouts are one of the most heavenly side dishes in the world. No pork fat needed, just split the sprouts in half, place in an oven proof dish, toss with coarse sea salt, roughly minced garlic, some rosemary or thyme or sage or all three and a healthy glug of olive oil
    Let 'em roast low and slow (say 300 degrees for well over an hour, until they begin to caramelize) and then eat with abandon. They're retardedly delicious!

  4. DairyQueen says:

    Hi Ann -- well, I had roasted them before with olive oil and salt at least twice and remained unimpressed, but only for around 30 minutes and not with the post-frost, sweeter buds. I'll try it again as you suggest. (Does it matter if the herbs are fresh or dried?)

    My mother must be so proud (hi Mom!). I used to hate being forced to "just try" sprouts so much that I would actually gag theatrically and spit them back on to my plate. Here I am voluntarily cooking and swallowing them!

  5. Jenni says:

    Here's my favorite prep: cut a few slices of bacon into thin pieces, once the fat is rendered remove the pieces with a slotted spoon, then sautee brussel sprout halves in the fat. When they're close to done, add a small handful of raisins, a splash of vinegar and the bacon you set aside. Yum.

  6. grocery goddess says:

    good golly! I had no idea little green things could generate such discussion and controversy. I am happy for your conversion, Dairy Queen, and enjoyed the reading.

  7. I'm so-o-o-o glad for any new recipes for Brussels sprouts. I'm always loved them and have had such a hard time getting my family to even try them, though they like all manner of other crucifers...

    The picture of this dish alone sells this recipe. Keep up the good work!

  8. stuart says:

    I must agree with Jenni -- i love my brussels sprouts cooked in bacon fat. Of course, there isn't much that isn't better with bacon.

  9. ann says:

    fresh herbs are always better! Go heavy with the salt too, and let them get real sweet and caramelized! I hope you like them...