They're a fairly notorious vegetable. As a child, I knew that my father liked them but that I wasn't supposed to; I don't remember eating them often and I don't remember how I felt about eating them when I did.
It wasn't until much later, after I had already decided to question any food aversion I'd previously had and just try everything, that I came to love brussels sprouts.
While I did try pan roasted them, to good effect, during college, the love affair didn't really blossom until a couple years ago, my first Thanksgiving in Texas and first Thanksgiving when I would be cooking the entire meal myself (if only for four people). I was looking for a good green side dish and found the perfect one: hashed brussels sprouts with white wine, lemon, and poppy seeds:
I had never heard of, never thought to slice up brussels sprouts, but slice them up I did. After briefly sauteeing some garlic in olive oil, the sprouts are added to the pan along with lemon juice and white wine. Cook only long enough to soften the sprouts and turn them bright green, then remove from the heat and stir in a generous amount of poppy seeds. Season with salt and serve.
(This dish is doubly good for Thanksgiving because it cooks so quickly!)
I love the bright green color of the sprouts, the bright, fresh flavor of the lemon juice, the fact that the sprouts stay a little crunchy, and the added texture of the poppy seeds.
Since that dish, sauteeing or stir-frying brussels sprouts has been my favorite way to prepare them--it's fast and delicious and allows to incorporate a variety of flavors, depending on what you're feeling like.
Tonight's dinner (see the photo at the top of the post) is an excellent example, inspired by the brussels sprouts with lentils and prosciutto from The Stone Soup. I started by chopping up a bunch of bacon and frying it up in my Le Creuset french oven. Once it was mostly cooked, I added 8 or 9 brussels sprouts, ends chopped off, cut in half, then sliced into thirds. I allowed these to brown with the bacon, stirring occasionally, until they were tender but not too soft. Then I added a drained can of cannellini beans and stirred everything around until the beans were warmed through. I turned off the heat and added about a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. After plating, I topped the dish off with some crumbled feta cheese that we bought yesterday on our tour of Harley Farms Goat Dairy (goats! cheese! awesomeness!).
These ladies have nothing to do with brussels sprouts.
If you think you don't like brussels sprouts, I urge you to give one of these recipes a try, and see if my favorite mini cabbages can't rock your world.
Some recipes I am looking forward to trying: