For most of my life, I've been convinced that the world is inhabited by two kinds of people... those who enjoy eating brussels sprouts and those with working taste buds.
When I was a kid, I hated the vile things. They smelled like sulphur and tasted even worse. I got all kinds of lectures from my parents about how brussels sprouts were high in vitamins and would keep me from getting cancer. I also heard about all the poor, underpriviledged children whose parents couldn't afford to feed them brussels sprouts. I thought the solution to that problem was obvious, but my parents refused to send my sprouts to a more deserving family. Instead, they would make me sit at the table until my plate was clean or (as usually happened) they gave up and sent me to bed.
As I got older, I grew in my appreciation of most vegetables. I loved green beans, spinach, and asparagus. I even learned to tolerate broccoli and cauliflower. But not brussels sprouts. They remained the bane of my culinary existence.
Recently, my girlfriend told me she'd been experimenting with some different ways of cooking brussels sprouts, and she had one recipe she thought I might like. Naturally, I was skeptical, but she insisted that I try just one before turning up my nose. Since I'm a good boyfriend (and utterly whipped), I agreed.
What can I say? They were incredible! As soon as she took them out of the oven,
I knew she was onto something. That sulphur smell I'd been expecting was nowhere to be found. These sprouts were roasted in olive oil and they smelled fantastic! After she sprinkled some pepper on them, I picked one up and popped it in my mouth. It was crispy on the outside, but almost creamy on the inside. The roasting had caramelized the sprout, giving it a wonderful flavor I'd never thought possible.
I won't say my conversion was 100%. Boiled or steamed brussels sprouts still fill my soul with dread and mock my childlike faith in humanity. But as far as I'm concerned, my girlfriend pulled off a miracle of alchemical proportions by turning brussels sprouts into something delicious.
Want to know how she did it? Of course. All you had to do was ask.
- 1 ½ - 2 lbs. brussels sprouts
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse sprouts. Trim any woody stem ends and remove any discolored leaves.
- Toss sprouts with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt to taste.
- Spread sprouts on a baking sheet.
- Roast in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, shaking halfway through to turn.
- Add pepper and serve hot.
- Pepper can burn at high temperatures, which makes it taste bad. So you should wait until you've taken the brussels sprouts out of the oven before adding any pepper. Minced garlic can be used in place of the garlic powder.