Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts!
This holiday season, millions of Brussels sprouts will make people sad. They will nest in bowls on Thanksgiving tables all over the country like horrible little sulfurous cabbage bombs: alien, over-boiled and reeking of farts, terrifying children and scarring them forever. Dastardly plot by adults drunk with power, or just a sad leftover of English cuisine? By the time you bravely plow through your first forkful of smelly leaf mush, you really don’t care.
It shouldn’t be this way, folks, because get ready for this: Brussels sprouts can be AWESOME. Blah blah healthy blah blah blah vitamins — all that really matters is that they can taste great. Plus, if you bring delicious, non-mushy sprouts to a dinner or potluck, you will look sophisticated, which is what we call it when you remake awful
things from childhood into things that appeal to adults. (See: mac ‘n’ cheese from a restaurant instead of a box; cereal flakes with whole grains and no plastic prize; cartoons about relationships instead of talking animals; Battlestar Galactica.)
I hear you can keep sprouts from going all raunchy by quickly sauteeing them, but that’s boring. The only thing I care about, sprouts-wise, is roasting. It’s magic. The high, dry heat takes away bitterness, boosts sweetness, cooks the insides perfectly and turns the outer leaves into smoky little potato chips, with pretty close to zero effort.
Here’s how to make the magic happen:
Preheat your over to 375 degrees or so. I am impatient and hate having to remember what vegetables roast at what temperature, so I roast all of them at 400 degrees and haven’t broken any yet.
Prep a pound of sprouts by cutting off dry ends and pulling off any dry or mangy-looking outer leaves. Toss them onto a baking sheet and coat them with a few tablespoons of olive oil: not so much that they’re swimming in pools of grease, but enough that they look evenly damp and shiny. Roast for about half an hour or so, stirring a few times starting about 20 minutes in. The time will vary based on sprout
size, your oven, weather, and a million other factors. Trust your nose: Stir them when they first start smelling strong, stir them a few minutes later, and take them out when they’re browned all over, crispy on the outside and soft enough that a fork goes all the way through. Salt them a bunch, like you would French fries.
There! You’re done! Make sure not to burn your fingers on the pan when you pick out the crispy loose leaves. If you have a sprouts skeptic in the house, feed them a few of the nearly blackened leaves: they’re crunchy as potato chips and the caramelized flavor is amazing.
This guest post is brought to you by Arlette Thibodeau, who thinks the word “veggies” sounds stupid, but that sure doesn’t stop her from eating them.