Monday, November 20, 2006

Coming to Terms with Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts? I always hated them. However, Unique Culinary Adventures keeps an open mind as long as freshness and quality aren't a problem. About five years ago, Mrs. Yi had me taste some particularly fresh Brussel sprouts served to her at Wilton's in London, and recalls me being OK with them. Three years later I had come to enjoy them as a once a year special treat when prepared as pictured above according to a recipe on The Food Network web site.

It took more that just freshness for me truly accept Brussel sprouts. Not only did they need to look fresh and be fresh, I wanted them only when purchased still on the branch. That's the way they showed up at yesterday's downtown farmers market, which had to be the best so far this year in every respect. You can pretty much count on the farmers market to always be great every year the Sunday before thanksgiving. It's also as likely a place and time as any to find fresh Brussels sprouts still on the branch. You pick off the sprouts of course once you get them home. After that, the less time wasted before cooking them the better.

I still believe it was this recipe more than the sprouts themselves that truly converted me. The bacon did the trick. Any high quality thick-sliced bacon will work, but the Wellshire Dry Rubbed Black Forest Bacon from Whole Foods Market that we picked up after leaving the farmers market yesterday worked wonders.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Susan Boro said...

But Jake....
You must try the Brussels Sprouts this way as I, like you, hated the things until just this year when I decided to try them again and got so lucky when a cookbook writer happened to come by just as I was talking to the farmer about how to cook the dern things:
Get a bunch of Brussels Sprouts - the fresher the better. (You are correct...the Farmers Market has the very freshest around.)Pick off the loose leaves - you want the heads to be tight.
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Put enough olive oil on a baking sheet to cover the bottom lightly.
Put the sprouts on that and roll them around to get them to have some of the olive oil on them. Then salt and pepper them.
Put into the hot oven for about 25 minutes. Don't bother to even check them until then. Then, take a fork. Poke one of the larger sprouts with the fork. It should be somewhat tender but not soft. If it is take them out, if still hard leave them in for a couple of minutes longer. Remove the browned leaves when you can handle to touch them.
Taste one for seasoning. If it needs some more salt or pepper add it. Serve and (I hope) enjoy.
I'm now addicted to them :)
By the way, it was super to see you again!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Best Regards,
Susan P......

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Susan Boro said...

But Jake....
You must try the Brussels Sprouts this way as I, like you, hated the things until just this year when I decided to try them again and got so lucky when a cookbook writer happened to come by just as I was talking to the farmer about how to cook the dern things:
Get a bunch of Brussels Sprouts - the fresher the better. (You are correct...the Farmers Market has the very freshest around.)Pick off the loose leaves - you want the heads to be tight.
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Put enough olive oil on a baking sheet to cover the bottom lightly.
Put the sprouts on that and roll them around to get them to have some of the olive oil on them. Then salt and pepper them.
Put into the hot oven for about 25 minutes. Don't bother to even check them until then. Then, take a fork. Poke one of the larger sprouts with the fork. It should be somewhat tender but not soft. If it is take them out, if still hard leave them in for a couple of minutes longer. Remove the browned leaves when you can handle to touch them.
Taste one for seasoning. If it needs some more salt or pepper add it. Serve and (I hope) enjoy.
I'm now addicted to them :)
By the way, it was super to see you again!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Best Regards,
Susan P......

6:27 PM  
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7:59 PM  

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