Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I know brussels sprouts invoke shivers and revulsion for some.  I do not have a history with them.  In fact, I have no history with them at all, but I trusted the stories and stayed away anyway. It is a sad story but true.  When I was growing up, my family just did not go there.

On one beautiful morning there they were, fresh at the farmers market and they looked so darn cool. I could not resist. I am always up for a challenge and wanted to give them a try.  But with out much effort (so much for the challenge) I found out I love these tasty, roasted morsels.  In my family, they disappear fast and I literally have considered counting them out for each person so the feel as if they have been treated fairly.  We covet them.  There never seems to be enough.
It is the end of their prime growing season (they tend to like cooler weather), although they are available year round, just not locally.  I was excited to find these.  They were on the large size which usually means they will have a stronger flavor.  This was not a problem for me because I have never met a roasted brussels sprout that I did not like.

So here is how I make these:
After washing them, I trimmed the nub on them, took off any offensive looking leaves and cut them in half. I then got a bowl and put about 3 to 4 tablespoons or olive oil and a good tablespoon of Dijon mustard and tried to mix it up with a whisk.  This is what it looks like:

I should have added the oil in a drizzle (like salad dressing) but I didn't.  It just wouldn't mix up smooth, no matter how long or aggressively I whisked.  But never mind perfection.  The goal is have this sauce evenly distributed all over the sprouts. 
They are coated very nicely.  I have made these many times and know it does not seem to make any difference if the oil and mustard mixture is completely mixed up before tossing the sprouts in it, at least to me.  This is one time where cooking is not an exact science.  Spread them out on a baking pan that has been sprayed with a little non-stick spray (just to make life easier later).  Salt and pepper the sprouts, toss, and then sprinkle some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  I like to put the cheese on now because I like the toasted cheese, but you can wait until halfway through the cooking if you want to.
Roast for 30 35 minutes at 400 degrees and they will look like this:
They are kinda blackened and looked a little burnt.  Not so.  They are perfect.  The mustard on them turns very dark like this.  I assure you they are just delicious.  They are usually the first dish gone at dinner and I was asked that next time that I make them, and there will be a next time, there really needs to be more of them.  Maybe I can do that.  It is not everyday you fight over vegetables.

So give these little cabbages a try sometime, you won't regret it and they are super easy.  The season for brussel sprouts are from autumn through early spring but are available year long.  You should pick the small, bright green, tight little cabbages for the sweetest flavor.  These were a little larger than I would normally buy . . . but I couldn't resist - I just love these little guys and so does everyone who lives here.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 quart or so of Brussels sprouts
2 to 3 tablespoon of olive oil
1 good tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash and cut off the sprout nubs and any leaves that have turned brown.  Cut in half.  Mix the mustard and oil together and toss the brussels sprouts in this mixture.  Salt and pepper to taste and toss again.  Spread them out on a roasting pan and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Roast them for about 30 minutes.  Test with a knife to see if they are done.  They will turn dark during roasting.  Cool for as long as you can stand it.

Now devour!

Printable recipe

Nutrition tidbit: Brussels sprouts are a superb source of vitamins K and C. They also contain B vitamins such as folic acid, B6, thiamin and riboflavin. And then if that is not enough they also contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid,  vitamin A, vitamin E, iron and dietary fiber.  This is not an exhaustive list so it is fair to say brussels sprouts are nutritionally packed and are a great addition to any diet.

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