Growing up, I can't think of a single time that we ate Brussels sprouts. So naturally not having been exposed to them as a kid, I viewed them as creepy little cabbages. However, recently I've developed a new found love for this sprout, due largely in part to their "natural state." I may be a little late to the party on this one, but up until about a year ago, I had no idea that Brussels sprouts grew on stalks. Like this:

How cool is that? I think they're a really beautiful vegetable. Their color and shape are spectacular! Am I alone in thinking that "Brussels sprout" would be a beautiful color for a front door or an accept pillow? Hey, you never know when and where you might get design inspiration

So naturally I was really stoked when I saw these stalks for sale at my local grocery store. (No really, I'm being totally sincere.) I practically skipped to the produce section to bag this beauty for $4.99. Remembering how amazing these little jewels were recently at a wonderful dinner at Central in DC, I knew I could probably transform them into something fabulous (and a little healthier than those from our dining experience).

So how do you take them from stalk to plate? Simple! First, cut each of the sprouts off the stalk with a small paring knife, removing any yellowed outer leaves if necessary.

Then you want to give them a good rinse under water to clean them.

Next, lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet. (Personally I like to cut the really large ones in half.) Drizzle them with four teaspoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste. Bake them at 400 degrees for approximately 35-40 minutes until they're brown and golden.

And enjoy! You have a healthy, flavorful and delicious side dish. It was so easy, but looks so beautiful, I think I might have to serve this one up at my next dinner party. Maybe I can make converts out of my unsuspecting guests.

What's one thing I didn't expect, aside from becoming a lover of Brussels sprouts? Lulu has the same level of enthusiasm for this vegetable. (Our Facebook followers are familiar with Lulu's salad and vegetable obsession.) No sooner had I dropped the grocery bags on our kitchen floor than Lulu had her head in the bag, about to steal a green globe from its stalk. That's my girl!

Is anyone else a fan of Brussels sprouts? Are there any vegetables you've recently "discovered" and can't get enough of? C'mon, leave me a post and let me know. You'll make your mother very proud. 


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Comments 22

Comments

2/2/2012 at 11:55 AM
I tried Brussels sprouts for the first time over Christmas. They were just boiled, though, and I ate a couple and then decided the available space in my stomach was better filled with something else.

THIS, though, looks like it would be delicious! I love roasted things (like broccolli).
Wendy
2/2/2012
I highly recommend roasting them. It brings out an amazing flavor. So good!
gretchen
2/2/2012 at 1:47 PM
love brussels sprouts! i never had them growing up and always just assumed they weren't very good (they have such a bad reputation, you know?). then i had them at a fancy restaurant as an adult (i think they were just pan-fried) and discovered that they are so good!

roasted or pan-fried is definitely the way to go. doug and i have discovered that roasting pretty much makes any vegetable better - brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale. yum!
Wendy
2/2/2012
I know what you mean about them having a bad rep, but them seem to be making a comeback. We've only recently discovered the wonders of roasting veggies and we seriously can't get enough. I've tried baked kale but we'll have to try broccoli and cauliflower. Thanks for the tip!
threadbndr
2/2/2012 at 2:31 PM
LOVE me some sprouts! We always had them parboiled growing up with a butter and lemon juice sauce. My dad would have to count them out and make sure my sister and I had exactly the same number and size or we'd argue over the last ones in the dish.

I like them roasted now, too.

BTW, for next summer, they are not that hard to grow in the garden. If you can grow brocolli, you can grow brussel sprouts. They do tend to bolt in the heat around here, but are a fall crop if we get a nice long autumn like this year. They freeze well.
Wendy
2/2/2012
Thanks for the tip! We'll have to think about adding them to our modest square foot garden. Have you run into any issues with the squirrels eating them though? Between the slugs and squirrels, it's an ongoing battle to get anything to harvest. :-)
threadbndr
2/3/2012 at 9:01 AM
I use 'slug collars' (little paper tubes) around the sets when they are tiny. Once the stalks get big enough to outgrow the collars, the slugs don't seem to bother them as much. I also use diatomatious (sp?) earth as slug repellant around my beds. It's not harmful to the plants, but keeps the slugs and snails out because the sharp sandy texture hurts their 'foot/body'.

As far as the squirrels go, Miss Molly (my border collie) seems to do a pretty good job of keeping them up in their trees. She thinks that squirrels, cats and chipmunks are just animated dog toys LOL.
Wendy
2/3/2012
Thanks for the slug collars tip. We'll have to give that one a try!

I think Lulu and Miss Molly are kindred spirits when it comes to squirrels. :-)
2/2/2012 at 2:38 PM
Brussel sprouts rule! I am obsessed with yams, but that's not really anything new. My friend has a great blog about food:

realocalcooking.wordpress.com/

She's super inventive with food, her last post was about eating her fall decorations. She recently posted about a watermelon radish, which I've been wanting to get my hands on since reading!
Wendy
2/2/2012
Cool! I have no idea what a watermelon radish is. Can't wait to check it out! :-)
Donna
2/2/2012 at 3:51 PM
Roasting or braising is the only way to me them. I never could stomach them boiled.
Wendy
2/2/2012
Totally agree!
Tee
2/3/2012 at 12:11 AM
I love Brussels sprouts. I found a delicious recipe similar to yours, but I use a skillet on the stove top. I have also added raisins and a little vinegar. Yum. I think we might plant some in our garden next fall.
Wendy
2/3/2012
That sounds delicious!
Tracy
2/3/2012 at 12:42 AM
i LOVE brussels sprouts now ... although I can hardly believe I'm saying that. My mom used to buy them frozen. In a bag, like frozen peas. DISGUSTING! They really bear no resemblence to the fresh ones.
Wendy
2/3/2012
The first time I tried Brussels sprouts they too were of the frozen variety. I was not a fan! Fresh seems to be the only way to go.
JC
2/3/2012 at 8:17 PM
I LOVE Brussels sprouts, but rarely buy them, since I never think of it. A vegetable that I hated as a kid was turnip, though. Mom would make it every so often, and I'd hate it. But now I LOVE it. I will use it as often as I can (vegetable soups, stews, and baked with potatoes/carrots, etc).
Wendy
2/5/2012
I'm totally with you on the turnip. I never had them as a kid, but recently had a roasted carrot and turnip side dish at a restaurant and it was AMAZING! (Best thing on the plate actually.) I might have to add this one to my grocery list this week. :-)
bfish
2/5/2012 at 7:08 AM
My brother loathed brussel sprouts, so we only had them occasionally when my mother had the courage to endure the epic battle of trying to make him eat, oh like four of, them. These were the frozen ones, which I still enjoy (steamed). They're great because they don't need butter to taste good. I do agree, however, that oven or pan roasted is best, with fresh sprouts.
Alex
2/5/2012
"Epic battle." :-) Too funny. Apparently my grandmother and aunt had similar faceoffs over mashed potatoes.

Steamed, huh? Maybe I'll have to give that a try sometime if I can't find fresh. Thanks for the tip.
JC
2/5/2012 at 10:05 AM
My favourite way to prepare a dish with turnip is to make it into an easy stew. I usually just buy a whole bunch of root vegetables (red potatoes, baby carrots, turnip, sweet potatoes, etc) and I'll chop them all about the same size, and put them in the bottom of a large Dutch oven, along with many garlic cloves. Over this, I'll put a whole small chicken, and a splash of chicken broth. I toss that in the oven for a few hours. Once everything is cooked, I'll remove the chicken, take the meat off, and return the meat to the vegg. Then I just add more broth and thicken the whole thing with a rue. Super easy, and super delicious. I usually add salt & pepper as needed and sometimes a bit of thyme and rosemary.
Wendy
2/5/2012
Wow, sounds delicious. You inspired me and we're now the proud new parents of four purple-tipped parsnips. I'm thinking about roasting them with carrots this week, and adding a little honey and cayenne. I'll let you know how it goes. :-)
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