Sunday, November 27, 2011

How I Got My Dad to Eat Brussels Sprouts

They were never served in my parents house.  They always carried negative adjectives with them.  Overcooked.  Soggy.  Stinky.  I suppose, as my Grandmother must have prepared them, the Brussels sprout never stood a chance.  Not knowing a thing about them (aside from the myths my parents imparted upon me), I didn't try them until my wife made them one glorious night.  It was a culinary/dietary epiphany on par with the times I (re)discovered sweet potatoes and spinach... both irrational fears stemming from "bad experiences" as a child.

So, what is different about these sprouts? 

What can melt away decades of dislike in even my dad's palette?  Simply, how they are prepared.  All of the horror stories I have heard involve phrases like "boil the hell out of" and "pungent green water."  But not a drop of water is used when I prepare them.  Just olive oil, salt, pepper... and Brussels sprouts.

Roast them.

I do this with so many veggies now and, as such, have found many new favorites that were once on the list of childhood dislikes.  Tonight, I am making Brussels sprouts.  Tomorrow, using the same template, I am roasting cauliflower.  The next night, brocciflower. 
If you have 20-30 minutes (and the willingness to try something again in a different way), you can easily do the same.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

What you'll need:
An oven preheated to 400
A baking sheet
Brussels sprouts
Olive oil
Sea salt

Cut the ends off of your Brussels sprouts.  Halve the small ones and quarter the larger ones.  Evenly sized pieces will cook evenly.  In a large mixing bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with enough olive oil to coat very lightly and salt and pepper to taste.  Spread the sprouts across a baking sheet and put them in the 400 degree oven.  After about 10 minutes, use a spatula to shake up and redistribute the sprouts on the baking sheet.  You will notice that some of the loose leaves are starting to brown.  Do not fear!  Give the sprouts another 8-12 minutes in the oven.  Remove the baking sheet when most of the larger pieces have edges browned and crisped to your satisfaction.

Again, this template can be used on countless vegetables... okra, cauliflower and squash to name a few.  I'll try it with whatever happen to be in season.
Ladies and gentlemen, Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

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