I didn't grow up eating Brussels sprouts, and due to the vegetable's notorious reputation, I didn't think I was missing out on much. When I had my first bite of the vegetable a few years ago, I found that it wasn't bitter; rather, it was rich, sweet, and tender. I've been a devotee of the nutritious Brussels sprout ever since.
While Brussels sprouts are often available yearround, they're in their prime now: Peak season is from September to February. To find out what to look for,
- Choose firm, round, and heavy sprouts with leaves held tightly together.
- Smaller heads have the sweetest taste.
- Avoid overcooking Brussels sprouts at any cost; they'll taste bitter.
- Aim to select heads of similar size, so they'll cook evenly.
Some preparation tips:
- Halve sprouts and sauté them in a pan with olive oil and chopped bacon until brown crust develops. Then simmer until tender in chicken stock.
- Shred sprouts by hand or in a food processor, sauté until crisp and tender, and drizzle with lemon juice before serving.
- Boil whole Brussels sprouts until tender (do not overcook). Plunge in cold water bath, then toss with butter, salt, and pepper.
- Toss whole with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake until crisp on the outside and cooked on the inside.
- Slice and eat raw with olive oil, lemon juice, toasted almond slivers, and pecorino.
What tips do you have for preparing Brussels sprouts? Do you have a favorite method of cooking them?