Brussel Sprouts made yummy
Brussel sprouts made delicious
It's time to give this much maligned vegetable its due. A cultivar of wild cabbage, just three and half ounces of Brussel sprouts will provide you with over 100% of your daily vitamin C intake and 4 grams of fiber. These sprouts are a super food value too!
We have all tried to get our friends and family to eat brussel sprouts, but everyone says the same thing ,they are just too bitter. I have friends that have tried steaming and roasting or even tried to place them in casseroles with fattening creams, butters and cheese. ANYTHING to get their family to try them. Just where are the healthy benefits if you are just going to drench them in butter, salt, and cheese? Who wants to go through all the steps? Also, I hear from folks these vegetables are expensive. In actuality, its inexpensive and easy to make. In the form I am going to suggest you purchase, they will store in the refrigerator for weeks!
In my first photo, you can see that you are looking at a form of brussel sprouts you have never seen before. It's the way they grow and how the sprouts are cut from the stalk and shipped in its most natural form. That makes it less expensive and helps with longer shelf life. You want to pick a hardy stalk with tightly shaped brussel sprouts. Avoid yellow leaves or too many brown spots. Once you have them at home, just pop the whole stalk in the refrigerator. If its too tall or too wide you can cut the stalk in half and store in the vegetable drawer, or, start using them that night.
Turn your oven on 425 degree's. Put the pan (either roasting or sheet pan) in the oven so it can heat up too. This is the trick when roasting vegetables that helps caramelize and speed the cooking process. Start by washing the whole stalk of brussel sprouts. Just rinse it under running water. If this isn't good enough feel free to spray the sprouts with a diluted (1/4 cup white vinegar to one cup water and store in a spray bottle) vegetable washing solution. Look, I saved you money already! In the photo you can see I have a small curved knife or paring knife. This works great for this application. Simply start at the bottom of the stalk and cut at the base of the sprout. Cut as many as you think you will need for one or two dinners. If any of the outer leaves have spots or yellowing leaves remove these. If the sprout looks as though it has a hole, it just may. When you cut it in half, look for any intruders. I love to cook plenty of sprouts just once and prepare enough for two dinners. Maybe you'll even receive a bonus lunch portion out of your work!
Now, let's slice each sprout in half and add them to a large bowl. You will need:
Balsamic Vinegar; just a decent brand for a few bucks a bottle. The reason I even mention this is because Balsamic Vinegar comes in many different grades. In future blogs, I may suggest that you will need a more expensive 25- year barrel aged vinegar. It will pour almost as thick as syrup and will cost a bit more, but it is SO sweet , delicious and mega good for you. But for this savory brussel sprouts dish, a middle of the road price tag should do just fine.
Next, you need peanut oil. If that's an issue for you (eg. food allergies) just use a vegetable oil of your choice. You want to stick with something neutral in flavor and smell. Of course you could also go all fancy and try a wonderful Hazelnut oil. If you are going for max health benefits a melted coconut oil is lovely too. I keep 7 or 8 different oils at all times. Not only for the health benefits that each one offers, but the flavor it imparts for the dish is paramount. If you don't use your oils as often as I do, please keep them in the refrigerator. It keeps them fresh much longer. You may say to yourself, "why not use olive oil"? The heat we need for roasting the sprouts is just too high. Hence, my first choice is peanut oil.
Next, add salt and pepper to your taste. Just don't over do it. A little goes a long way.
I cook by sight, that means in many occasions I don't measure a darn thing. I start by pouring in about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the vinegar depending on the amount of brussel sprouts in the bowl. Don't worry the acidic taste; it is going to bake off, leaving a nice sweetness. Now drizzle in 2 or 3 tablespoons of the oil. Salt and pepper to taste as you see fit. I prefer ground pepper in all dishes and a fine ground salt. I use sea salts, yes sea salt , I have several types of these and will often place the salt in a grinder when I want it finely ground. It all depends on the application and really how it tastes to you. Sea salt still has sodium so try and use it sparingly. Mix with a big spoon until the brussel sprouts are nicely coated with all the ingredients.
Take your hot pan out of the oven. Be careful though; mine has handles on the top and has burned me in the past. Pour in the brussel sprouts. You should hear a nice satisfying sizzle. Cover the length and breadth of the pan loosely with a piece of aluminum foil and set timer for 15 minutes.
This is your steaming process! There's no need to steam to take out the bitterness. By placing the aluminum foil on top, you already have gone through the steaming process. This saves energy, the pan, and your time. After baking for 15 minutes, remove the foil and put the pan back in the oven for 5-7 minutes. The brussel sprouts should now have a nice caramelized look on the side that touched the pan and will be fork tender. Serve hot and enjoy!