Poor, poor Brussels Sprout. For years and years, it seems that this disrespected little veggie was the Rodney Dangerfield of the side dish world. I can’t remember anyone speaking highly of them when I was a child. My parents didn’t like them, so I’d never tried them until I was an adult. I remember telling my husband, probably when he was still my boyfriend, that I’d never had a Brussels sprout. He looked at me like I had three heads, as it was some important, childhood rite of passage I’d skipped right over.
I grew up ignoring the Brussels sprout, assuming it was just a sad, pathetic little vegetable that I didn’t need to meet.
Then, over the past couple of years, I noticed that the Brussels sprout kept, for lack of a better word, sprouting up everywhere. It seemed that every new cookbook or magazine I looked at sang the praises of this “retro” vegetable. I noticed them on restaurant menus and cooking shows, nutritionists were shouting their health benefits from foodie rooftops! (For more on that, click here) Suddenly, I kind of felt left out. I decided to grow up, be a big girl and try them.
I’ve already told you that if you hand me a vegetable, I’ll most likely try to roast it. I noticed a lot of roasted Brussels sprout recipes out there, so I figured this might be the way for me to introduce them to my family. Oh my gosh! All these years, I’d been missing out!!! They are so good!
After playing around with a few different techniques, I’ve come up with a roasted Brussels sprout recipe that I now make about once a week during the winter for my family. If you’ve never tried Brussels sprouts, or haven’t liked them in the past, I ask you to give them a try this way. Steamed Brussels sprouts still taste a bit too much like blah boiled cabbage for my liking. Roasted, they’re nutty and delicious. (I might even make my parents eat them next time they visit.)
For the four of us, I usually start with about a pound of fresh sprouts. I remove the smaller, bottom leaves and slice of just a bit of the bottom to clean them up a bit. If the sprouts are small, I just leave them whole. If they are too large for one bite, I slice them in half.
Next, I toss them with a little olive oil and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Before popping them in the oven, I generously sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
I roast them for about twenty minutes, stirring them around about mid-way through.
Once they’ve started to brown up and caramelize, I toss them with a little Balsamic vinegar and sprinkle them with just a pinch of sugar. Then, they go back into the oven for about five minutes more.
When they’re done, the leaves on the outside have crisped up a bit and the sprouts have a wonderfully, salty, nutty flavor. The vinegar and sugar give them just a hint of sweet and sour tang. Boiled Cabbage-Mush they are not. They are more grown up, a little bit sophisticated, quite good for you and much cooler than the fabled sprouts of my youth. I’m so sorry that I underestimated you, Brussels Sprout. Thanks for your patience with me.
BALSAMIC ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
- 1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
- sugar, just a pinch or two
- Preheat your oven to 375*. Clean and prepare your Brussels sprouts. Remove the smaller leaves at the bottom and slice off just the tip of the stem. If you chop off too much, more leaves will fall off. If too large for one bite, slice the sprouts in half. Smaller sprouts can be left whole. In a bowl, toss the sprouts with the olive oil. Spread the sprouts out on a baking sheet and sprinkle, generously, with salt and pepper.
- Roast the sprouts for about 20 minutes, stirring once, until browned and toasty. Sprinkle the sprouts with the vinegar and toss, in the pan. Sprinkle the sprouts with just a pinch of sugar, as if you were re-salting them. Roast for 3-5 minutes more.
- Serve immediately.