I had a Brussels sprout-free childhood. My dad’s memories of mushy pea green bitter brussels sprouts were enough to keep them off the list of veggies in our garden or on our dinner plates. I tasted them for the first time in my college dining hall – they were fine. Sort of like kale, sort of like cabbage. Two recent recipes, however, blew me away. One was last Thanksgiving, when I found myself devoting precious stomach space to seconds of roasted Brussels sprouts instead of saving room for pie. Both use quick high heat, plenty of oil, and salt to highlight the deep green Brussels sprout flavor while keeping the texture firm inside and crispy on the outside.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
– Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
– Halve each Brussels sprout and toss with olive oil and salt in a bowl. I use about 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt for one pound of Brussels sprouts. Warmed bacon fat substituted for some of the olive oil makes the final result a special treat.
– Spread coated Brussels sprouts onto a cookie tray and bake for about 30 minutes. Start stirring (or shaking the pan) every 5 minutes (or so) after about 15 minutes.
– You’ll be finished when they look crisp on the outside and are tender on the inside.
Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Pepperoni
-Halve a pound of Brussels sprouts, dice 1 medium onion and chop 2 garlic cloves finely. Dice about 1/3 cup pepperoni or dry salami.
– Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan. When hot, add onion and saute. After onion pieces are cooked through (glassy), add garlic. Stir. About a minute later, add your Brussels sprouts.
-Let one side of your Brussels sprouts rest on the hot frying pan long enough to brown, then stir. If things are burning, lower your flame a bit, add a splash of water and cover to loosen up the bottom of the pan and make sure your Brussels sprouts are cooked through. When they have browned nicely on the outside, add pepperoni and stir. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir one last time before serving.