In Praise of the Humble Sprout

240px-brussels_sprout_closeup

Ah, the brussels sprout. It is finally in season, and costs only $1.99 at Whole Foods today. For many years I assumed I did not like brussels sprouts. Tiny cabbages! I thought. Eww! But lo! Last year I cooked them for the very first time, and proclaimed them good.

I never thought much about how sprouts were grown as I don’t think we ever ate them when I was a kid. My dad probably disliked them. Nor have I ever seen a brussels sprout farm. But check this out:
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What *is* that? A sprout vine? That just makes these little guys all that much more awesome. Not only do they look like adorable little cabbages, they grow in a weird and interesting way. Thank you, Wikipedia, for filling me in.

Brussels sprouts have a nutty richness to them that comes out when you roast them in particular. I had visions of sprouts being boiled to death into mushy little knobs of grossness. When I started investigating, I learned there was a real variety in sprout prep, and that roasting them serves them best. First, peel off the outer layers and cut off the little stem on a dozen sprouts. Then slice them in half. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and put in a roasting dish. Put dish in a 400 degree oven and keep an eye on them, tossing occasionally, until a little bit browned and tender. This takes somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on sprout size. This past weekend, I peeled and sliced sprouts and then put them face-down in a skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat; once browned, I added a few tablespoons of water and covered to steam five minutes until tender. You do lose some crispness, but they’re still pretty darn good.

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4 responses »

  1. I never was a fan either…but roasting them sounds wonderful instead of the cooking method preferred by our parents and grandparents (mush).

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