Sunday, February 21, 2010

Brussels Sprouts - A Four Hundred Degree Change in My Thinking

Remember brussels sprouts? Cute little cabbage-like things that turn ugly on you the instant they are subjected to water?

I'm talking about those slimy stinkballs, boiled to an unholy color of gray-green and offered alongside other foods, as if they were actually edible.

My family usually served them on holidays, like they were vegetable royalty or something.

I could only imagine the faulty thought process that went into that idea.

Hmmm . . . let's invite a houseful of people we care deeply about to celebrate a special day . . . and let's prepare a sumptuous meal . . . punctuated by a side dish that makes the whole house smell like . . . dirty feet.

And then . . . but wait!. . .  there's more . . . let's serve it alongside all the yummy stuff, just like it belongs there . . . and make the kids eat it too!

Well, we've got to give some credit to most kids on this one.

If it looks like balled-up pond scum, puts off noxious fumes and tastes like boiled gym shoes -- don't put it in your mouth! Cute miniature cabbages my eye!

Ding, ding, ding . . . we have a winner! How about an award for a kid who can employ higher-order thinking skills at such a tender age? Like extra dessert!

Don't make her sit at the table . . . alone for eternity . . .  with yucky brussels sprouts. That kind of trauma could last a lifetime.

Brussels sprouts are gross to the nth degree and not to be eaten, especially by someone with enough sense to evaluate all the evidence and reach such an enlightened conclusion. Ick! 

Much time passes . . .

What's this I see?  Brussels sprouts can be purchased fresh, instead of frozen? Tender, crisp and green?

Hmmm. . . what if they could be sliced in half . . . tossed with some good olive oil . . . sprinkled with kosher salt . . . freshly ground pepper . . . then spread out on a baking sheet . . . and placed into a 400-degree oven . . . and left until they begin to turn a lovely caramel brown . . . and then . . . and only then! . . . they were offered to the masses  . . . young and old alike?

Would that make them palatable? Edible maybe? Delicious even?

Brussels sprout redemption!

It would be enough to change my whole way of thinking about the vegetable formerly known as icky, stinky, gaggy brussels sprouts.

A four-hundred degree change.

Roasted brussels sprouts are truly the royalty of the vegetable kingdom.

Like vegetable candy!

Taste for yourself.

You can still have dessert, no matter what, mon petit chou.

Brussels Sprouts
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut Brussels sprouts in half, lengthwise. Place Brussels sprouts on heavy baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Turn Brussels sprouts cut side down on the baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for about 10 minutes or until they begin to brown (may also leave in until they are very brown and they will be very sweet and smoky). Remove and serve immediately, or at room temperature.


Unknown said...

Cora: Actually, my family is one of those that likes brussels sprouts and we do just as you outlined and serve them with our most treasured recipes at the holidays. To date, I have been using a recipe from Williams-Sonoma; however, yours looks yummy. My daughter and I will try it at our next special holiday meal, maybe Easter. B. Erickson

CottageGirl said...

OK ...
If you say so ... I'll tell you what ...
If I see some brussel spouts the next time I go to the store, I'll buy a couple and test out your recipe!!

Cora said...

Cottage Girl, just let me know if I need to send one dessert, or two, after your leap of faith. I promise you, my cooking classes hoover these up like . . . candy! Even lifelong brussels sprout haters like me.

Janet S said...

While I like Brussels Sprouts .. your column may give my hubby some hope. He may actually trust you and only you to provide a way to make these palatable.

Cora said...

Janet S, you may need to toss some garlic in there, too, if you want to please that palate -- or smother them with sausage gravy!