Wednesday, March 9, 2011

stop boiling your vegetables, America!

I'm convinced that people who hate vegetables have never had vegetables properly prepared.

We've all suffered through the mushy, faded, bitter, boiled and buttered version of Brussels sprouts but take a look at this...

Yes, those perfectly caramelized little beauties are, in fact, one of the most dreaded vegetables ever to grace a 9-year old's dinner plate. Yet with some heat, attention, and minimal amounts of culinary skill, they have been magically transformed into something seriously delicious. They will taste nothing like you remember, I promise. *

Sprout Sauté

fresh Brussels sprouts, washed
olive oil
salt and pepper
balsamic vinegar
crumbled bacon
Parmesan cheese

1. Trim the stem ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half lengthwise. Discard any loose or blemished leaves
2. Heat up the olive oil, enough to thoroughly coat the bottom of your pan. Medium to medium-high heat should be fine.
3. Place the sprouts flat side down in the pan and let them cook a few minutes. Check one to see how brown it is getting. Once the sprouts start getting a good color, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and begin to stir, cooking them on all sides. Turn the heat down a bit if the outsides are browning too fast because you also need the inside to cook.
4. Cook a few minutes, and poke a sprout with a fork to check for tenderness. Once it is to your liking, deglaze the pan with a little balsamic vinegar, scraping up any yummy caramelized bits and tossing the sprouts in the liquid. Let the liquid evaporate then throw in the bacon and cheese.
5. Serve and eat immediately.
6. Say "zOMG! these are Brussels sprouts!?"
7. Start plotting for the next time you can make this recipe.

*In fact, the Brussels sprouts were so good I keep eating them until they were all gone, causing me to completely neglect my steak. Anyone who knows me will tell you that this is very nearly a miracle because I am deeply passionate and devoted in my love for red meat.


Old NFO said...

Um... pretty amazing, as you LIKE steak! :-)

Alan said...

I'm gonna have to try that. If it makes Breda ignore steak it must be amazing.

Tom said...

When it comes to asparagus, the secret is BROILED not BOILED :-) A little butter, a little salt, a little broiling. Yummmmmmm!

MonteG said...

I love brussel sprouts. I usually prepare them the same, then toss 'em in a mixing bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then I lay them out on a sheet pan that's covered with foil and stick 'em in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until they look just right.

Works well when combined with broccoli and cauliflower, cut the approximately the same size.

I've been meaning to try 'em in the pan like this, though, and that balsamic glaze sounds freakin' delicious.

Crustyrusty said...

OK, you've been commiserating with my wife, haven't you...?

In fact, I'd swear that picture was of her plate. Steak and Brussels Sprouts are a regular feature around here.

Mike W. said...

Bacon makes everything taste better!...

On a Wing and a Whim said...

I do a very similar thing using the broiler instead of the pan - blistered brussel sprouts are awesome. I like to use feta instead of parmesan, or a little crumbled blue cheese, but to each their own!

jdege said...

I despise carmelized vegetables - Brussels sprouts especially.

A light steaming is all they need.

Carteach0 said...

Hmmm... Tasty!

vzett said...

Almond flakes go really well with this too - a family favorite even for our younger kids.

John Farrier said...

Nothing except boiled okra was as bad as bioled brussels sprouts during my childhood. I've refused to eat either since that time.

North said...

Got here from Say Uncle, where I commented.

That is EXACTLY the way that I saute Brussels sprouts.

An alternate is to add garlic during the sauteing, drop the balsamic vinegar at the end, and using cream to deglaze - making a cream reduction before recombining.

Glenn B said...

Your recipe is probably very delicious, sounds like it must be. Cutting the sprouts in half before cooking, then not over cooking helps to eliminate production of thiocyanates and to leech out glucosinolates. I know some folks who have par boiled them, then changed he water they were cooking in, with some good success to loosing the bitter bite.

Here is a bit of advice I only learned recently: when buying Brussel Sprouts. The season matters a lot. Brussel Sprouts are bitter when they are harvested before the first freeze (note not the first frost). They loose the bitterness if harvested after the freeze. I don't know why, don't even know if it is true, but I will admit that all sprouts I have gotten this very cold winter have not been bitter.

I will try your recipe though, sounds as if it will be a big hit and go over the taste buds pretty easily.

All the best,

Stuart said...

I usually quarter them and saute them with some butter (and a little salt) till they caramelize just like this. Even my kiddos (3 and 6) like them, and they have a severe distrust of green food.

I'm into simple foods and don't usually add a whole bunch of extra ingredients to anything. Really, all the extra flavors aren't needed to make something good.


Ed Rasimus said...

Works with cauliflower too. Not so good with brocolli.

Ed Skinner said...

It's not April 1st, is it?
What're you guys up to?
Is this some blogger's scam, "The Great Brussels Sprouts Conspiracy"?

Ok, Ok, I'll try it. But I'm tellin' ya' now, I'm *NOT* gonna like it!

BobG said...

I've always been a fan of Brussels sprouts. One of my favorites is when they are pickled in brine and vinegar with garlic and hot chiles.

instinct said...

Can't do it. The mere sight of those little things makes my taste buds curl up into a little ball

Sabra said...

I should try them like this. I've done them roasted before and been amazed at how much better they were than the boiled nuggets of despair from my childhood.

falnfenix said...

mmmm, i love Brussels sprouts when cooked properly - the method doesn't matter.

i'm a huge fan of this's actually converted quite a few haters.

Weer'd Beard said...

I've done a very similar recipe. At so many my gut puffed up with gas. Was worth it!

Roasted asparagus is also really good.

The wife will only eat carrots roasted.

Nancy R. said...

My family calls Brussels Sprouts "Martian Heads".

Ken said...

I have always loathed Brussels sprouts, but I'ma have to try that sometime.

Steaming is the ticket for asparagus -- not too long, though, and a basket is a must. You want 'em over the boiling water, not in it.

I usually get more (from the West Side Market) than I steam, and make asparagus soup a day or two later with the unused spears. They don't keep long.

Sigivald said...

Lazy version:

400 degree oven.

Cookie sheet.

BSprouts, covered in oil, salt, pepper.

Put in, cook 40 minutes, shake occasionally.

(Bacon can certainly be added, and cheese, but as a side neither are necessary. Likewise the balsamic - which I'd never use as I hate vinegar, but to each their own!)

Sigivald said...

(I see Monte beat me, but I can't see how you'd get caramelization in 20 minutes, seeing the amount I get in 40 ...)

jdege said...

I asked my POSSLQ for her favorite recipe for Brussels Sprouts:

1. take package frozen sprouts from the freezer
2. deposit in the trash
3. call for pizza

Mike W. said...

Sorry Breda, but you're still not going to get me to eat Brusselsprouts.

Those things on your plate kinda look like little aliens.

It's OK though, there's always broccoli sauteed in fresh garlic.

Alan said...

I've never liked Brussels sprouts but I just made these tonight and they are damn good.

I'll never boil again.

LissaKay said...

Oh. My. GOSH! These are heavenly! Both my husband and I would have sword we would never EVER touch a Brussels sprout upon threat of death ... and we love these! We're also both on a low-carb diet, so these are perfect!

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I don't have a grill. I don't trust the broiler on my oven. I like mushy vegetables because that takes the texture out.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Oh wait, you are broiling, you are frying. Maybe sauteing.