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A foot long stalk of Brussels sprouts

A foot long stalk of Brussels sprouts

Give Brussels sprouts one more chance! This dish brings out their true flavor.

Brussels sprouts are one of the weirdest looking plants I’ve ever seen. They grow on stalks and look like a cabbage-broccoli hybrid. Blogger Jaimie Karpovich once described them as looking as if a cabbage and a pineapple had a baby.

A closeup of sprouts on the stalk

Sprouts on the stalk

A cold weather crop best suited for the Pacific Northwest and parts of California, Brussels sprouts emerge from the soil resembling cabbage leaves on a stalk. As the broccoli-like stalk grows to 3 feet, it sprouts little cabbages and rubbery spikes. A stalk covered with bumps and a mop of cabbage leaves on top! Who invented this thing?  After the sprouts are removed, the stalk looks like an alien weapon with spikes.

sci-fi weapon?

sci-fi weapon?

 

Snipped sprouts and the remaining stalk

Snipped sprouts and the remaining stalk

 

 

Actually, this veggie is alien to most people and no one seems to know how to cook it.

 

My first attempt involved boiling them. Wrong! I did that years ago and my one bite was so vile tasting, I threw it out and never ate a sprout again for decades. (come to think of it, I had a similar experience with okra….)

But, all it takes is one person who knows how to prepare something correctly to make all the difference in the world.  A friend of mine roasted to perfection a mix of Brussels sprouts, carrots and other root vegetables–which also made for a colorful presentation. I’ve been obsessed with sprouts ever since and have them as often as I can.

I roast or broil them so crisp they are crunchy like chips! As soon as I figure out how to mass produce them, I’ll make millions selling sprout chips.

Snipping off the sprouts with kitchen scissors is easier than using a knife or twisting  off the sprouts

Snipping off the sprouts with kitchen scissors is easier than using a knife or twisting off the sprouts

Technically, broiling is cooking with high heat from above and roasting is cooking with low heat all around. For speed, I tend to microwave and broil.

To be fair, I’m sure these little odd balls can be deliciously sautéd in olive oil and bacon fat.

Sprouts can be purchased on the stalk or already removed. Buying them on the stalk involves cutting or snipping the sprouts off (I prefer using kitchen scissors), trimming the ends and removing any raggedy outer leaves. I then cut them in half or quarters and toss the sprouts with olive oil and italian herbs, before roasting them crisp. Chopped garlic is also a delicious addition to the dish.

I added a few small red potatoes and used the Nantucket Off-Shore Garden Rub I received as a Christmas gift for seasoning. It’s an aromatic blend of thyme, oregano, peppermint, fennel and peppers.

This simple dish makes a savory side to pork or beef or as the main entrée.

Olive oil, salt & pepper and seasonings make a simple marinade for sprouts and red potatoes.

Olive oil, s&p and seasoning

This isn’t a dish that requires exact measurements because it really depends on individual taste and the portion you want, but here’s a guide

diced red potatoes & sprouts

diced red potatoes & sprouts

 

 

 

 

 

1 cup quartered Brussels sprouts and 1 cup diced red potato

1 clove of diced garlic

1Tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin is the most flavorful)

1.5 teaspoons of an Italian herb blend (sage/thyme/oregano/basil)

A pinch or salt and pepper.

Place the potatoes, Brussels sprouts and garlic in a bowl or plastic bag, pour the oil over the veggies and sprinkle in the seasoning.

Cover the bowl or close the bag and toss all the ingredients together until they are thoroughly mixed.

Spread the contents into a roasting pan and broil/bake at 400 degrees for 30 mins or until the vegetables are browned and crisp. The thicker the vegetables, the longer they cook.

browned & crispy

browned & crispy

Note: To speed up the cooking process, microwave the vegetables and then broil or roast them.

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