Vegetable Spotlight: Brussel Sprouts

Author Steven Rubenstein once proclaimed the Brussels sprout “the worst vegetable of next year;” Laurell Hamilton once defined her least favorite activities as “one of life’s necessary evils, like Brussel sprouts and high-heeled shoes.” Pulitzer Prize winner, Dave Barry noted that the fears of “werewolves, dentists, North Koreans, and Sunday School all paled in comparison with Brussels sprouts.” Despite their undoubtedly bad rep in American culture, the cruciferous vegetables deserve nothing other than love and adoration.

In season from September to February, Brussels sprouts flourish long after most fresh greens are gone, a welcome fresh vegetable in the bleak winter season. The beauty of Brussel sprouts comes from the diversity with which they can be used. Shaved raw in salads, roasted with olive oil and salt, fried to crispy decadence, the uses are nearly endless.

At Market Day, look for hard, bright-green sprout heads—they’ll be more flavorful than the mushier ones. Picking ones that are all roughly same size will also ensure that they cook evenly. Store your Brussel sprouts unwashed and untrimmed in a plastic bag in the fridge—they’ll keep for nearly two weeks.

While my favorite Brussel sprouts are plain, roasted or sautéed until crispy with just a drizzle of oil, a healthy dose of sea salt and a dash of chili flakes, here are a variety of more creative options:

  1. For a bright and easy salad: Brussels Sprout Salad with Avocado and Pumpkin Seeds http://www.marthastewart.com/1050681/brussels-sprout-salad-avocado-and-pumpkin-seeds

  2. Or, to upgrade the salad into a full meal, add some kale and broccoli, roast it all and top it with an egg: Brassicas Bowl

  3. If you're feeling fancy then I highly recommend attempting Ottolenghi’s Brussels Sprout Risotto http://www.ottolenghi.co.uk/brussels-sprout-risotto-shop

  4. and if you're still looking for more ideas or info: https://cooking.nytimes.com/guides/27-how-to-make-brussels-sprouts