For Your Consideration, The Brussels Sprout
It seems that we’re on a constant quest to incorporate more vegetables into our diet. It sounds easy enough to do – just buy more greens – but it had gotten to the point where I had to break free of the trifecta of salad, broccoli, and spinach. One of our more recent discoveries was brussels sprouts.
This happened almost entirely by accident. I had not planned on making brussels sprouts when I went to the supermarket that evening, but the produce guys had crafted a lovely presentation of the pale green orbs that beckoned customers visually as soon as they set foot in the store. I had no idea what to do with them, but at $2 a pound I figured they were an easy risk to take.
Taking my haul back home, I decided that, as a novice preparer of brussels sprouts, there would only be two ways that I should tackle them – boiled, or roasted. Since the cold weather was starting to move into our area, I decided to warm up the kitchen a bit by roasting them.
A quick search for ‘roasted brussels sprouts’ turned up a recipe from Ina Garten, found on The Food Network website as well as in her book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. It’s very straightforward, and it brings out the flavor of the vegetable in a way that only roasting can – concentrating it, compacting it, each sprout a little bundle of taste waiting to explode on your tongue. The recipe is as good as I could ask for, having picked up brussels sprouts on a whim – all that’s needed is some salt, a grinding of pepper, and olive oil.
I set my oven to preheating, then I got out my Le Creuset – great for roasting since it is enameled cast iron and retains heat wonderfully – and poured a thin film of olive oil across its bottom, along with some salt and ground pepper. I rinsed the brussels sprouts and took to trimming the hard, dried root off of each one (almost the same as trimming asparagus), and any brown or yellowing leaves. As each was done, I flipped it into the cold pan, rolling it about with a rubber spatula to coat it with the seasoned oil. When I was finished, I gave the whole affair a final dusting of salt and pepper and popped it into the oven.
Almost immediately, the kitchen filled with the wonderful smell of roasting brussels sprouts. The recipe is quick, taking only about 30 minutes, which is exactly the amount of time you would need to give a holiday turkey a good rest after cooking. If you’ve never had brussels sprouts, or your experience heretofore has been entirely negative, I would highly recommend trying your hand at roasting them. It may be enough to change your mind and, like us, give you a new addition to your repertoire of vegetable dishes.