Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Eating Omily: The Scientologist of the Vegetable Kingdom

Broccoli may be the poster child for veggies children don't like, but I'd say it's universally more liked than the subject of today's post.  Which comes from Belgium.  And is not diamonds or chocolate (more's the pity)

Nope, I'm talking about these! (Pauses for collective gasp of horror). 
 Ok, not everyone hates brussels sprouts.  In fact, odds are very good you like brussels sprouts, assuming you've had them in some form other than boiled-to-death, or mass-produced canned or frozen, but too many of us haven't.  I know I thought I hated brussels sprouts for a long, long time.
Seriously, this shit came up on the first page of a google image search for 'brussels sprouts'.  Haters gon' hate.
 Then I realized this is the freakiest damn plant on the planet, and knew I had to give it another try.  What the hell am I talking about, you ask?  Have you ever seen brussels sprouts pre-harvest?  How do you imagine they grow?  Just like baby cabbages, right?  Wrong!  They grow like freaky alien plants!
Brussels sprouts: evidence the Scientologists are right?

So how do you cook these guys in a way that fully respects their awesome strangeness?  Try cutting them in half and caramelizing them in a hot skillet, then dressing with a vinegarette.  If they're all on the small side, don't even cut them in half.  Just saute in olive oil until just barely tender.  You'll see: they won't get slimy, mushy, or sulferous if you use higher heat, and a shorter cooking time.  AND NO BOILING!  These guys are at their best this time of year, when cooler temperatures encourage crisp, sweet specimens.  Most Farmers' Markets sell them by the stalk!
Bizarre, AND phallic!

And yet they do look like baby cabbages...surely there's feminist thesis in here somewhere?
They'll break it in half for you if it won't fit in your bag, and some places cut them off the stalk so you can buy them per pound, but they usually cost more that way.  When portioning, I find that one stalk with usually provide four small portions.  You may not see them as small portions; we eat a lot of veggies in our house.

Get out to your Farmers' Market and give these guys a try.  You may be able to overturn a decades old aversion, and since these guys are incredibly nutritious, you'll be doing your body a favor in the proccess!


  1. You can roast them very easily, too. And they go well with root vegetables, I think. There's a bar in Minneapolis that serves them as a bar snack, and they are very popular. When was the last time you heard someone say "You gotta try the Brussels sprouts!"?

  2. I was thinking the other day that I forgot to mention roasting them; thanks for pointing that out! One of my favourite cook books-Cook Yourself Sexy by Candice Kumai-has a great recipe for roasting brussels sprouts with dijon, honey, and spices. I love the idea of veggies as bar snack! Why not get a little nutrition in while you imbibe??