Sunday, January 4, 2009

Discovering Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are not native to India. Unlike some other non-traditional vegetables, like broccoli which was often on our table cooked with Indian spices, my mother never thought to put brussels sprouts into rotation in our household. Thus, I did not grow up with the deep aversion to brussels sprouts that a lot of American children seem to have. Nonetheless, I never thought to make them until I ran into this post on the 101 Cookbooks food blog. The trick to this simple recipe (really, more of a cooking technique) is to avoid overcooking the brussels sprouts, which makes the sprouts not only mushy but a little too bitter. The sprouts turn out bright green with a beautiful brown crust on the cut side. I have reproduced Heidi's recipe below with a few of my own tweaks.

Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts
24 brussels sprouts
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
olive oil
grated cheese of your choice (I usually use shaved Parmesan cheese)

1. Wash sprouts well. Trim stems and cut each sprout in half, discarding any raggedy outer leaves. Toss with a glug of olive oil.
2. Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Do not overheat the pan or the brussels sprouts will brown before cooking through. Place the brussels sprouts in pan, cut side down and in one layer. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, cover, and cook for approximately 5 minutes.
3. Cut into a sprout to test whether it is tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
4. Once just tender, uncover, increase heat, and cook until golden brown on cut side. Toss the sprouts once or twice to get some browning on the round side. Turn off heat and dust with grated cheese of your choice.

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