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Beautiful Brussels Sprouts

Beautiful Brussels Sprouts

If you had told my teenage self that I would one day write about my fondness for Brussels sprouts, I would have exploded with laughter. At that point, Brussels sprouts were a tiny sphere of torture for me. I had devised a strategic way to survive their appearance at the dinner table by taking a small sip of milk, placing a few Brussels sprouts in my mouth, quickly chewing them while focusing on the taste of the milk, making a fast gulp, and chasing it down with another small swig of milk. Needless to say, they weren’t my favorite and I happily forgot all about their existence throughout college. But one day I was watching Food Network and one of my favorite chef’s prepared Brussels sprouts. His cooked Brussels sprouts looked vibrantly green and intrigued me. He said that Brussels sprouts were usually cooked wrong and that those of us traumatized by bad memories of them should give another go. It took me a while to work up the courage to try them again, but when I did, it was love at 83rd sight. The only similarity these sprouts had to the 82 before them was their name. These Brussels sprouts were nutty, and firm with a deep and pleasant earthy flavor. Gone was the bitterness. Gone was the squishiness. Gone were the gulps of milk.

If you have been similarly scarred by Brussels sprouts, it’s time to try again. Brussels sprouts are full of fiber and one serving of them meets your daily requirement for vitamin C. Take that oranges! They also boast a long storage life, so that when you forget about them and they’re lost in the bottom of your produce drawer for a couple weeks, they’ll likely be perfectly great for eating when you find them again. That’s personal experience talking. Here are some of my favorite ways to eat Brussels sprouts.

Linguine with Brussels sprouts and Parmesan

   This recipe is based off the one you can find here, the only substitutions being that I use whole wheat linguine noodles and omitted the pine nuts because I ran out. This is one of my all-time favorite vegetarian pasta dishes.

Cheesy Grits with Andouille sausage and Brussels sprouts

  Here’s a fun spin on grits that I made one night. I drizzled some spicy chili butter atop the finished dish and it was a delightful combination of textures and flavors.

Oven Roasted Brussels sprouts

  I follow the method you see here, but also added some fingerling potatoes and carrots. The smell of the roasting vegetables and a garlic pork loin roast was simply divine.

Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar

This is how I most often prepare my Brussels sprouts. I cut off the stems and remove any brown outer leaves, halve them and pan roast them over medium-high heat with a little olive oil. Once they’ve browned to my liking, I cover them, reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook them until they’re barely fork tender, about 8-10 minutes. Then I plate them and dress them with some kosher salt, cracked pepper and balsamic vinegar.

Go grab some Brussels sprouts today and find a new way to enjoy this fresh, hardy winter vegetable.

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