Three 10-minute Brussels Sprouts Recipes for Sprouts Lovers and Haters

When I was growing up Brussels sprouts were most often the butt of jokes. There was always something more worthy of being eaten than the lowly Brussels sprout. And the belief that they held a position near the bottom of the culinary totem pole remained ingrained in me until well into my adult years. Right up until I actually ate one. Then, my opinions about this cabbage-relative changed abruptly.

Previously, I had only heard stories–primarily from my father–about the vileness of Brussels sprouts. More than likely his distaste for this green, leafy, flavor bomb stemmed from of his Dutch mother’s cooking technique. Somewhere between the Netherlands and the Midwest the default cooking technique for all vegetables became boiling the living bejesus out of them until they turned into a watery mush. When I first tasted a Brussels sprout at Alta on West 10th Street in the Greenwich Village about a half dozen years ago the flavor was anything but mush. It was crispy, and fresh, and flavorful. How had I been missing out of this for so many years?

Perhaps even more importantly, how had my father been missing out on these for so many years? A man who grew up on a farm, eating raw onions straight from the field as a snack? A man who plucked chives, mushrooms, and edible greens from the forest like some sort of edibles magician? Something wasn’t right about his dislike of Brussels sprouts.

So while he was recovering from cataract surgery, and was nearly entirely blind due to the intense light shades he was told to wear, I decided to cook him some Brussels sprouts. The first night, they accompanied his burger. The second night, some meatloaf and mashed potatoes. And the third night, a pork roast. Each night he finished his plate and said that the meal was good.

My favorite technique for Brussels sprouts is to broil them. However they can be done stove top as well.

Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Toasted Hazelnuts

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and quartered (lengthwise)
2 Tbsp butter
1/8 cup chopped hazelnuts
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to broil. Place trimmed and quartered Brussels sprouts on a cookie sheet and toss with salt and pepper. Place on a rack near the heat source for 3-5 minutes. It helps to check on them often the first time through. When they are starting to turn a nice roasted brown remove them and taste one for texture. If they are crispy, and not bitter, but not burned, they are done. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan toast the hazelnuts. Don’t burn them. When they are toasted set them aside. Heat the butter over medium heat until it starts to brown. Don’t burn it. Brown it. Toss all ingredients together an serve.

Brussels Sprouts with Apple and Bacon

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and quartered (lengthwise)
1 apple cored and diced
3-4 strips of bacon chopped
1/8 cup chopped hazelnuts or other nut
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to broil. Toss Brussels sprouts with salt and pepper and place on a cookie sheet or roasting pan close to the heat source for 3-5 minutes (same as above). When they start to turn toasty brown, remove them. In a small pan toast the chopped nuts. In a small frying pan cook the bacon. Discard all but a few tablespoons of the fat. Combine all ingredients and heat in the pan for one minute.

Asian Salad Brussels Sprouts

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and sliced thin on a mandolin or with a knife
1 medium carrot, julienne
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/8 cup chopped peanuts or other nut
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp fish sauce or Worcestershire
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to broil. Toss the carrots and Brussels sprouts with the sesame oil and place in the oven on a cookie sheet or roasting pan for about 3 minutes. Toast nuts in a small pan. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, fish sauce, and soy sauce and reduce over medium heat. Once it has become a light syrup, remove from heat. Toss all ingredients and season with salt and pepper if necessary.

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