Brussels Sprouts. The very word has been known to make children cry, strike fear in the hearts of the bravest of men, and cause household pets to dash under a bed and shiver uncontrollably. Certainly if you asked a stranger on the street to name their favorite vegetables in order of preference, Brussels sprouts would not be in the top ten…or fifty… Even I will admit that ever since having them a time or two in my childhood, I have otherwise avoided them like the Plague for the past 20+ years.
Why do these little green buds – which are actually the same species as kale, broccoli, kohlrabi, and cauliflower – have such a bad reputation? Why does this cluster of miniature heads of wild cabbage, which has been grown since medieval times, conjure reactions of flared, wrinkled nostrils and curled lips (or worse) with just the mere mention of it? Turns out, most people just haven’t had them cooked right. Or more specifically, have had them overcooked; a condition which releases compounds that have a potent smell and taste of sulfur. So, when our CSA share recently included Brussels sprouts and April suggested roasting them, I decided it was time to give them another chance…
- 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, cut into halves
- 3~4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the sprouts, removing any loose outer leaves. Trim the bases close to the bottom of the outer-most leaves, and split in half. Place in a bowl large enough to leave room for tossing. Peel the garlic and slice thinly (about 1/16″ thick) and add to the bowl. Sprinkle the lemon pepper and olive oil over the top, then cover with plastic wrap and shake to coat well.
Spread out on a baking sheet or bar pan in a single layer. Place in the preheated oven and roast for about 30 minutes, turning with a large spoon every 10 minutes to cook evenly. They are done when the garlic is golden brown (even a little crispy) and the sprouts have golden brown spots and crisp edges.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving bowl. These were indeed tasty – good enough to convince me that Brussels sprouts are worth seeking out when they are in season (and perhaps even adding them to my own garden when I finally get one started). They even made great leftovers the next day. Enjoy!