Somehow, I made it through 30 years of winters without ever tasting a Brussels sprout. I'd read my classical children's literature, though: I knew (I thought) Brussels sprouts were the epitome of terrible vegetables. "Eat your Brussels sprouts," moms would say, and kids would protest, cry, go to their rooms without dessert. All for the Brussels sprout.
Last fall I saw a big stalk of Brussels sprouts at my organic market. They looked... kind of cool, in a 40s space age-way. My husband told me that he liked Brussels sprouts. Huh. Could they be... good?
It took a fabulous recipe from Saveur and lots of time slicing those sprouts neatly in half, but I'm happy to report: yes. They are good! Cook 'em right and they're salty, buttery, crispy, soft, early winter on a plate. They soak up butter and liquids like a champ, and they look good doing it.
And when I saw the photo of those delicious braised veggies on Je Mange la Ville (whose recipe is similar, but a bit easier, than the Saveur one) well, I knew it was time to rekindle my late-in-life love affair with the curious Brussels sprout.
Amazingly, I can't find the Saveur recipe - or one like it - anywhere on the net. I'll give a quick recap:
Destem, clean and remove outer leaves from Brussels sprouts. Slice each sprout in half.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add sprouts. Cook about 5-10 minutes until just tender.
Remove from water and drain.
Heat a sauté pan with a good quantity of butter, some sliced garlic, and salt, over medium-high heat. Add the drained sprouts and cook, stirring often, until sprouts are nicely browned, adding more butter when necessary.
Add a few tablespoons vinegar (red wine or balsamic) or lemon juice, and a handful of small cubes cut from a good loaf of bread. Cook a few more minutes, adjust seasoning, and serve. Yum.