Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Brussels sprouts

I don't understand why Brussels sprouts get such a bad rap. I love 'em.

I came to Brussels sprouts late in life, after I had gone to college. They retain for me an association with asparagus and artichokes - all delicious vegetables, a little exotic and very European, that grow in funny, distinctive ways very different from beans or lettuce. So it was quite a shock to find out that, unlike asparagus and artichokes, most Americans hate Brussels sprouts.

I can't imagine why, unless there's some sort of unspeakable frozen or canned Brussels sprout product lurking in other people's childhoods. Properly made, Brussels sprouts are tender, delicate, mild and a bit nutty. I prefer them steamed and then turned in a bit of butter, though you can reverse the fat/liquid exposure and braise them with great success. The picture above shows one of my favorite Brussels sprout dishes. After the sprouts are lightly steamed, I throw them in a pan with a knob of butter and walnuts. I cook them a bit longer, until I can begin to smell the walnuts, then I add a little maple syrup and cook just a bit more, to meld the syrup and the butter. Sprinkle with a little salt, and you've got either a very nice side dish or, if you happen to be single and able to get away with such idiosyncratic meals, dinner. Posted by Picasa


Urban Agrarian said...

Those look really good. I can't wait to try them with the walnuts

Imaginary Maggie said...

I saw your post on Crazy Aunt Purl and had to click your link, becuase I'm also from the "germs = enhanced immune system school".

I hated brussel sprouts my entire childhood until my 20's when my husband introduced me to them fresh off the stalk. What A Difference!

I'm bookmarking your blog, baby.

Walter Jeffries said...

I too am a Brussel sprouts lover. I think there are a minority who hate them and are very loud about it. Everyone I know who has eaten with me has loved them. There is a difference between the somewhat bitter ones from the supermarket and the sweater ones I grow and which you'll likely get at your CSA or farmer's market. Fresher and frosted are best. Perhaps the haters just never got the good stuff.

lindy said...

Love, love them sprouts.
I don't understand the antipathy in folks who like all other veg, including cabbage, of which they are the sweet and tender dollhouse version.
Until recently, my vegetarian child, lover of all other things green, was among those folks. This christmas she cheered her husband, S. and her mother and grandmother, by undergoing a conversion and eating a pile of them quite happily.
My brother still hates 'em though.
It's a mystery.