Brussels Sprouts: Who Knew? Caramelized Brussels Sprouts

8:45 AM

Growing up, I was not a picky eater.  All those veggies that kids were supposed to hate were my favorites.  So where do Brussels sprouts fit in?  I don't really know.  I remember going to the grocery store when I was little and seeing the most adorable little baby cabbages and really wanting to get them.  We took them home and I vaguely remember eating them.  I don't remember how they tasted or if we ever ate them again afterward.  Now, either it was such a traumatic experience that I completely blocked it from my memory, or we just never ate Brussels sprouts.

Fast forward about 20 years.  Just after I had Liam, a family friend brought over a dinner that included the most delicious roasted veggies.  There were beets, and potatoes, and... Brussels sprouts!  If you remember my *mild* obsession with beets while I was pregnant, you can imagine how excited I was. The sprouts were surprisingly wonderful and we decided that we definitely needed to eat them more frequently.

After we bought a huge bag, I started looking for ways to cook Brussels sprouts.  Heidi's recipe at 101 Cookbooks grabbed my attention - it was fast, easy, and only required a few ingredients, but looked so delicious!  We tried it and were hooked immediately.  I know we ought to try other recipes, but that would mean not eating this one and I'm not sure I'm ready for that!  :)

 Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts

(adapted from 101 Cookbooks)
The original recipe calls for 1/4 c grated cheese of your choice (Parmesan or smoked Gouda were suggested).  this sounds yummy, but I'm currently eating dairy-free, so I omitted the cheese.  It's so good without it, I'm not sure if I'll add it back in later.  

The recipe also says that it serves 4.  I'm not sure I believe that: we doubled it for 6 people and didn't have enough.  Either way, it's a good starting point.  The "measurements" are really just a general guideline anyway.  It's super easy to do a little more or less depending on what you have.  

  • 24 small Brussels sprouts (the more uniform in size, the better)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to coat
  • Kosher salt

Wash the Brussels sprouts well. Trim the stem ends, remove any ugly or ragged outer leaves, and cut in half from stem to top.  Place in a large mixing bowl and gentle stir in a couple Tablespoons of olive oil (just enough to coat the sprouts).  Try to keep them intact.  (I find mixing them with my very clean hands to be easiest here.)

In your largest skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.  The key here is to keep the heat relatively low.  Too much and the outsides of the sprouts will cook long before the insides.  Place the Brussels sprouts in the pan in a single layer, flat sides down.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, or two, and cover.  Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the Brussels sprouts are tender throughout.  (It's helpful to have a
couple extras to taste-test for done-ness. :) )

When just tender, uncover, crank up the heat, and cook until the bottoms are nicely brown and caramelized.  Toss a few times to brown the other sides.  Serve immediately.  (You can add another pinch of salt, freshly ground pepper, or the grated cheese here.)  But seriously, serve these babies up hot, fresh out of the pan, and get ready for bliss.

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