Brussels sprouts are like the newt of the vegetable world. You know those things your mom used to cover in butter or cheese whiz to try to make appealing to the prepubescent pallet and make you try just one bite before you were released from the dinner table? Brussels sprouts not newts. If your mom was covering newts with butter, we’ve got problems.
Neither broccoli nor cabbage, they have taken on mutant characteristics of each of their close relatives. And like the newt none of these joined together in an attractive way. Sort of like there were a bunch of leftover parts after creating fish and frogs or cabbage and broccoli and they needed to be used so voila newt and Brussels sprouts.
You couldn’t tell someone who never had one before what they are like. I mean try to explain it. They are kind of like … Well they taste like … You put butter on them … Oh just try it. You can’t even throw it taste like chicken out there.
However, I’ve seen them popping up on menus in trendy gastropubs and heard about them being eaten in high-end restaurants where I can’t afford to eat. Which is exciting. I love Brussels sprouts. I kinda of think newts are cute too though. The thought of Brussels sprouts reaching their due day on the plates of fine dining restaurants makes me smile. I’m all about these foods that were once what people ate because that is all they had to eat, getting to get all dressed up with aiolis and infusions and ride porcelain to linen covered tables to be plucked up by sterling silver flatware. It’s all very Pretty Woman. You can almost picture Meatloaf and Brussels sprouts marching into a snotty boutique restaurant to tell them how big a mistake passing them over was. Big mistake.
As I see it, a perfect storm to give fame and hipness to Brussels sprouts is brewing. They are inexpensive and ugly, which makes them prime poster vegetables for the hipster world. You know cause, irony. They have a compact and dense shape that holds its form during any method of cooking. And a flavor you can either throw rich sauces on or just keep simple making them a creative playground for people who make food for a living or just for really good eating. Their cost to nutritional value ratio is astounding and you can grow them making them a prime choice for hippies and parents alike. There is something to love for all of the prefect groups of people in a position to to spread the word.
The problem most people have with Brussels sprouts is that they’ve had them over cooked, which gives them that really bitter sulphorous flavor and nursing home smell. So here is what to do with them. It’s no fail, cause even if you do overcook them this will fix it — but don’t over cook them. You can steam, boil or roast them. I prefer roasting. Roll them out on a cookie sheet with some olive oil and salt. Then stick them in an 350ish oven for like 15 to 20 minutes turning them halfway through. Pull ‘em out and squeeze the juice of one lemon and sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese. These two flavors are very good at toning down bitter (which is why it works even if you overcook them and just FYI also makes a very good dressing for agrula if you add some olive oil). That should win over just about any Brussels sprout skeptic. (However if that doesn’t work fry some in beer batter and serve them with horseradish mayo.)
So here is your mission if you choose to accept it: Take up a Brussles sprout stalk, go out and spread the word.