Brussels might be one of my most favorite things to cook for my family. Why you ask?? Well, it’s because they love them.. they’re always the first things to be eaten, and they typically all fight over the last one. How do I possibly get my family to eat brussels in the first place?? Well, it’s because I make sure that each brussels sprout is browned and seasoned, removing any bitter cabbage flavor and imparting a delicious roasted flavor in each and ever bite. Believe me, if you are one who has written off brussels as a dinner side option, it’s time to rethink and give them another try. There are several different directions you can take this recipe, so feel free to get creative and play around with it a little!
First, you want to prep the sprouts. Rip off the outer green leaves, cut in half lengthwise, and trim the bottom stem. Next, bring a small amount of water to boil in a large oven proof pan (we’re conserving pans here, people..) Add the brussels to the boiling water, making sure that the cut sides are submerged. Blanch the sprouts for approximately 2 minutes and then shock them by placing them in a bowl of ice water. Then place the brussels cut side down on paper towels to dry (you want to get them as dry as possible so that the brown correctly). Dump the cooking water and place the pan back on the burner over med high heat. coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. This might also be an ideal time to use any conserved bacon fat you might have laying around, which would add a wonderful bacon flavor and smokiness to your food. When the oil or fat is almost smoking, add the brussels cut side down to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Let them brown in the pan for approximately 5 minutes, or until the cut sides begin to brown. Once brown, place the pan in a preheated 450° oven and roast for about 10 minutes. About halfway through cooking, toss the sprouts around and add a little extra oil if the pan looks like it is getting too dry.
Once the brussels are nice and browned, carefully remove the pan from the oven (remember it’s been in a 450° oven, I cannot tell you how many burned fingers I have gotten by forgetting how hot the pan is!). At this point, my preference is to squeeze a little lemon on top, add a dab of butter and season with salt and pepper, and some herbs, really whatever you have on hand. I usually prefer either thyme or rosemary. You can either serve as is, or you can choose to serve the sprouts on top of a sauce. I have found that I really enjoy Stonewall kitchen’s lemon herb aioli. If you want to really put in a little extra effort, ABC Kitchen’s Roasted Brussels with mustard vinaigrette is absolutely delicious.
When selecting your brussels, look for a nice green head, with leaves that are tight and compact. The smaller heads also tend to be more flavorful than larger ones, but make sure to pick brussels that are all similar in size so that they all cook evenly. Brussels sprouts also really versatile and can be used in a number of different ways other than roasting. They stand up very well to strong flavors such as: vinegar, mustard, bacon, pine nuts, blue cheese, brown sugar, and pepper. They’re in season from fall to winter, so they are a perfect side dish option for holiday get togethers! Try these out at your next dinner party. I guarantee that someone will ask you for the recipe
- ¼ cup salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts, prepped and halved (see above)
- 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- ½ tsp thyme, rosemary or other herbs, finely minced
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Blanch the Brussels sprouts by bringing a small amount of water to a rapid boil. Add salt. Boil Brussels sprouts in small batches, approximately 1-2 minutes per batch (depending on size). Sprouts should be slightly tender but not fully cooked. Shock in ice water to stop the cooking and dry completely on towels.
- Heat olive oil in an oven-proof saute pan over medium high heat. Add the sprouts, cut side down and season with salt to taste. Cook until slightly brown on bottom.
- Place in the oven and roast 10 minutes, or until dark brown (but not burnt) stirring occasionally. Remove from the oven, add butter and herbs, and season with more salt and pepper. Finish with a squeeze of lemon.
- If using a sauce, spoon onto a serving platter and then top with the sprouts.
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