BRUSSELS SPROUT, THAT IS.
Behold the Brussels sprout! Perhaps the most polarizing of vegetables. Unfortunately the reputation of many a delicious veggie was tainted by the boiling era (circa 1950) when dropping beautiful veggies into a pot of water only to emerge soggy, bland, and overcooked was the sole method on the menu. Brussels sprouts prepared in this manner are not particularly desirable, and don’t smell so great, either… And thus the Brussels sprout got a bad rap.
But luckily those days have come and gone. And boiling water has been replaced by roasting pans and cast iron that yield beautifully firm, crispy sprouts—a stove-hot trend that is here to stay. And has many a devout follower! If you’ve been to a restaurant in winter over the last five years you may have noticed, and perhaps even scarfed down a plate or two. They’re quite addictive.
Brussels sprouts are part of the Brassica family, along with mustard, cabbage, and broccoli to name a few, all of which are commonly called cruciferous vegetables. Like their family members, Brussels are a nutritional powerhouse with high levels of Vitamins A, C and K, as well as folic acid. They’re also known for their cancer prevention properties thanks to a ton of antioxidants and phytonutrients!
While Brussels sprouts were originally cultivated in—you guessed it—Brussels, Belgium, in the 16th century, lucky for us they eventually made their way across the Atlantic in the 19th century. And every Fall through Spring, they make our cold weather season a little more enjoyable. Just keep them out of that boiling water…
HOW TO BUY
On the stalk! Brussels sprouts grow on a thick stalk, and stay fresh longer when you buy them still attached. They’re also less expensive than the loose sprouts because you aren’t paying for labor. Look for sprouts that are bright green and small in size with firm, tightly packed leaves.
HOW TO STORE/PREP
Store unwashed sprouts in the fridge. Wrap the intact stalks in plastic, and keep loose Brussels sprouts in plastic bags in the crisper drawer. When you’re ready to chow down, either slice the sprouts off the stalk or trim the cut ends of loose sprouts. Then rinse, remove old loose leaves, and cut in half for a nice sear.
EAT & DRINK
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS
enough brussels sprouts for the occasion (I’ll leave it to you to determine if this will be a side or the main course, and how many you are feeding)
coriander seed (or ground coriander if this is all you have)
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Trim and cut brussels sprouts in half. Toss in olive oil (just enough to coat) and sprinkle with cumin, coriander and celery (adjust to your taste, but I would think no more than 1 tsp of each will be enough).
Spread out in a baking pan, and roast, turning occasionally, until tender and slightly charred. Add more oil if necessary. This will take approximately 40 minutes.
Put into your serving dish and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add as many pomegranate seeds as strikes your fancy (don’t skimp)! Toss and serve.
Note: This is perfect as a side dish. But feel free to make enough to feed as a main by adding toasted walnuts or almonds, and serving it over basmati rice. Adapted from from a photo by Sarah Phillips.
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUT AND SAGE BROWN BUTTER PASTA
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved
5 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. sriracha
4-5 shakes garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tbsp. salted butter
5 fresh sage leaves
1 lb. ground Italian sausage (sweet)
6 ounces of pasta
Heat your oven to 400ºF. While the oven is heating up, grab a large bowl and pour in the grapeseed oil (olive oil will work as well), balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and sriracha. Add the garlic powder, salt and pepper, and whisk until emulsified. Set aside.
In a medium pan, cook and brown the Italian sausage over medium-high heat. Add some of the drippings from the sausage into the mixture in the large bowl and whisk until well combined.
Put the Brussels sprouts into the bowl and toss until well coated. Spread them onto a baking sheet and put into the oven to roast for 30-35 mins (depends on how hot your oven runs). Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with a generous amount of kosher salt.
Cook your pasta (I used penne) and drain. While your pasta is cooking, melt six tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter begins to foam, turn the heat up and cook until it becomes a light amber in color. Add your fresh sage and cook for an additional min. Take off the heat and set aside.
In a bowl (the same large one you used earlier), toss the pasta, sausage, and Brussels sprouts together. Pour the brown butter over the pasta mixture and toss once more before serving.