2 recipes to convert sprouts haters

Posted Jan. 04, 2011, at 5:31 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:52 p.m.

Lots of people still wrinkle up their nose when they hear Brussels sprouts mentioned. It’s too bad really, and only because most sprout haters never had one that had been through a couple of good freezes. Back in December, I took some well-frosted Brussels sprouts from our island garden down the road to our friends John and Barbara, and we managed to convert John, who had his last sprout a few decades ago as a child. I can’t remember now just how Barbara fixed them, but it involved bacon some way, and how can you go wrong with bacon?

Here are two more good ways with Brussels sprouts, neither necessarily with bacon, though that would be good added to either dish. The sprouts with vinaigrette can be served warm or at room temperature. Think of the sprouts as a form of cabbage, and the whole dish as a kind of salad. The vinaigrette works beautifully, but so would a Caesar-style dressing, a garlicky mustard dressing, or a mustard and honey dressing. Use your favorite prepared dressing if you wish.

Roasting Brussels sprouts is super-easy. Roasting just about any vegetable is easy, and the process seems to intensify flavors mightily.

Try to pick out sprouts of a similar size so they cook evenly. Cut the bottoms off and pluck away the yellowed or wilted outer leaves until you get to the perfect little shiny green, minicabbage inside.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
5-8 sprouts per person, more or fewer depending on size
Olive or vegetable oil
Cooked bacon, for garnish

Trim Brussels sprouts and cut an X in bottom of each. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss sprouts and oil in small roasting pan. Roast 25 minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish with bacon if you wish, and add a squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

Brussels Sprouts with Vinaigrette
5-8 sprouts per person, more or fewer depending on size
Vinaigrette dressing
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
Salt and pepper
Pinch of sugar if needed
Fresh herbs such as dill, parsley, chives
Cooked, chopped bacon, for garnish

Steam sprouts until fork-tender. In separate bowl, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings. Toss still-warm Brussels sprouts with vinaigrette and serve.

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