I love Brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that so many people try when they’re young and think are nasty. Most of the time, those Brussels sprouts are nasty because they are not cooked properly. I am about to show you how to cook them so they are yummy.
For a long time it was hard to find Brussels sprouts in restaurants, but for some reason the last few years it has become hipster to have Brussels sprouts on the menu. I’m excited they have made a come back, but I still love to cook them myself exactly the way I love them. This is one of my favorite recipes for Brussels sprouts.
The first secret for cooking Brussels sprouts is DO NOT BOIL THEM. Brussels sprouts can take a while to cook and boiling is probably the fastest way to get them done, but it leaves them a mushy texture and doesn’t seem to allow flavor to seep in. If you are behind schedule and must cook quickly then you could boil Brussels sprouts for five minutes and then finish them roasted but if at all possible I highly recommend roasting your Brussels sprouts.
When you pick your Brussels sprouts out at the store, of course try to find organic. But even more important, make sure they are fresh. Since Brussels sprouts are not the most popular vegetable, it is common to see them with wilted leaves still for sale at the grocery stores. Try to find them where the outside leaves are still fresh and crisp.
When you are ready to cook your Brussels sprouts, rinse them off with water to help eliminate any pesticides that might be on there. Now it is time for the only challenging part: slicing them all in half.
TIP: Do not skip this step of slicing the sprout in half. Trust me it's worth it. It makes sure they are cooked evenly and allows more yummy spices to disperse throughout the sprout
If they have stalks still on, that is the toughest part, so you can trim that off at the same time you are slicing them.
Next find a proper roasting pan. I like to use cookie sheets sometimes, but when I cook the Brussels sprouts with bacon the bacon grease can run off the edge of the cookie sheet, hit the stove burners, and smoke. For the bacon version, I use the bottom section of the broiler pan that comes with most ovens because it has a lip around the edge to keep the goodies from falling off while they’re roasting.
Place all of the Brussels sprouts on the pan flat side down. Again it may be tempting to skip this step as it takes a minute or two extra to place them all lying flat but it seems to enhance their ability to absorb flavors. Once all the Brussels sprouts are in place take one or two slices of bacon uncooked and use a pair of scissors to cut them into approximately 1 centimeter squares. Place the bacon squares in between the Brussels sprouts scattered throughout the pan. Then I take lime juice and sprinkle over the Brussels sprouts. Finally I salt and pepper generously. If I am not using bacon I always sprinkle them with oil. I only cook with saturated fat oils so my favorite option is avocado oil. With the bacon you don’t need the avocado oil but it doesn’t hurt to double dip on the flavor profile?
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Once the sprouts are sliced and seasoned, put the pan in the oven and let them cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Unlike meat which you never want to overcook, I would err on letting them cooker longer. You know they are ready when the edges have started to turn brown, get crispy and you can stick the largest ones with a fork all the way through easily. Once they’re done pull the pan out, put them in a bowl and serve. If I make them without bacon, I will grind fresh Parmesan on top as I am serving them on the table. However with the bacon version you don’t need the cheese.
Try this recipe and see if you don’t become a Brussels sprouts fan yourself.