Brussels Sprouts are a food I simply didn’t like until fairly recently. Yes, I’d had them prepared well. Yes, I’d had them straight from the farmers. No, I still did not like them. Then about 4 years ago, my then boyfriend’s then roommate made some for his dinner. I was intrigued. I tasted them. They were not good. BUT I realized they were not good because he had not made them well, NOT because the underlying taste was grody (sorry Keith). Suddenly I had a mission: make brussels sprouts and like them.
Really, I don’t know why they suddenly sounded appealing, but once I started I couldn’t go back. Mr G wouldn’t eat them while I experimented, so I found friends (Pam and Liz especially) that would try them with me and tell me what they thought. I made them for potlucks, bookclub, basically anytime I knew Pam and Liz would be there to try them. I made them with pancetta and onions, hot peppers and olive oil, bacon and feta. Braised, roasted, boiled, mashed, whole.
For Passover this year I wanted to go simple to please the masses (my niece Delfina told me they were the best brussels sprouts ever) so I roasted these plain and simple and used a few tricks my mom has taught me since I started liking these guys.
*First of all, ALWAYS get them from the farmers’ market. They are supremely better than at the store.
*If you’re not going to cut them in half, let them sit in a bath of cold water, critters and dirt will seep out slowly (see picture below).
*If you want more flavor to seep in or are in a hurry, par-boil them first.
*If they’re truly fresh from the market, there will be little to trim (if any).
So I do this differently every time (in a skillet v parboiled v long roasted). For this way, I soaked the sprouts in a big pot of ice water for about 25 minutes. I had 2 large plastic containers of them total.
Preheat the oven to 400. Then strain sprouts. Boil a large pot of salted water and boil brussels sprouts for about 2-5 minutes. They should not be soft. Strain sprouts and toss in 2 T olive oil, a hefty sprinkle of salt (1 tsp), 1 t balsamic vinegar and 5-10 whole garlic cloves (skin on) in a pyrex glass baking dish. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes. Toss in another 1 T of balsamic vinegar and mix, and return to the oven until the sprouts are nice and crisped on the outside, about another 5-10 minutes.
Thank you Pam and Liz for helping me perfect these delightful sprouts and solidify my love for them all season long.
If you are not boiling them first, put them in at 400 for approx 45 minutes, stirring once in the middle.