Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Brussels Sprouts, really?

Well, I have nothing to say for myself but, "really"?

My whole life parents and grandparents have tried to get me to eat Brussels Sprouts. I tasted once or twice and quickly became a vociferous naysayer. I wouldn't, couldn't, not gonna, ever, eat them. I could sit at the table for hours not eating them and the only things I like less than those bitter cruciferous sprouts are lima beans. So there. None. For years.

One day about 6 or 7 years ago I had a bite of my friend Anna's grilled Brussels Sprouts at Houston's Restaurant. They were not bad. But, it didn't convince me. And anyway, I don't live near a Houston's and reasoned  it must have been an anomaly of sorts.

Then a funny thing happened. Joan, of the Organic Kale Salad, offered to cook the mean little guys for our Thanksgiving celebration. I couldn't exactly turn down a dinner contribution. I figured I'd just have extra salad and forget to put them on my plate. But then something happened. I tasted them. And voila, I changed teams there and then. I love them. I love Brussels Sprouts and would eat them anytime, anywhere. Really.

Here's the trick:

Buy them organic. Buy them fresh. Cut away the base of the core. Peel any tarnished leaves. Cut them in half.
Heat a skillet to medium high with plenty of good olive oil*. Add the sprouts and a pinch of salt, and skitter them around in the pan for a while, til they start to just roast. You want some brown on the leave. Then add a bit more fresh olive oil - a sprinkling and the juice of 1/2 a lemon or so.

Then you eat them. Mmmmm.

My sister recommends finishing with Balsamic Vinegar. Or add a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar to the olive oil while their cooking and finish with either the lemon or the vinegar.
You really could eat them every day.
There are tons of recipes out there.

My mom (the one who tried to make me eat the boiled to death kind of Brussels Sprouts for all those years), was shocked when I served them with turkey the other night. Those are them swimming in the shimmery wine & stock gravy. Oh yes, they were very happy. And she was thrilled she'd finally convinced me!

All I have to say is "who knew"?

* Always Cold Pressed Extra Virgin and preferably organic. Laleli is my hands down favorite and you can buy it over the phone from the rep: Mary Landis.  (She's my friend and a fellow kitchen lover.) The flavored varieties are superb because they mash the olives and the fruits (herbs) together so there's some crazy marriage of flavors. (I suppose mashing will do that.) I prefer not to live without the lemon, the basil and the garlic flavor in my kitchen.

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