In Season Sprouts

A Little Background: 

Brussel Sprouts are part of the Cruciferous vegetable family (aka the Brassica family); as are cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli & collard greens. The history is uncertain, but dates back to ancient Rome - doesn't everything :).  In the 13th century this vegetable received its name due to its popularity in Brussels Belgium.  It is believed French Explorers brought Brussel Sprouts to our southern states in the 1800's. The good news for us is they are loaded with vitamins - especially Vitamin K and Vitamin C.   These little gems even contain protein.  Eating them helps to protect against cancer with antioxidants and phytochemicals.  Our favorite way to cook them is in the oven with a splash of olive oil, salt, pepper and a little crumbled bacon.  So here goes!

Time: 30 Minutes

What you Need:                                                          

First find a pan big enough to hold your sprouts...

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(just kidding).  This is not the pan you use.  I just had to share this photo for fun because these are just one of those very FUN vegetables in their natural form.  In the winter we have to buy frozen sprouts, but in the fall, if you are lucky enough, you can find these babies in many farm markets. Definitely a conversation piece at your dinner parties.  One stalk feeds about 6-8 people when used as a side dish.  If just cooking for 2, just break off as many as you want to eat and follow directions below.

So seriously now, all you need is...

  •  a cookie sheet pan
  • a stalk of fresh brussel sprouts OR a bag of frozen (We buy our frozen sprouts at Trader Joe's - .99 cents per bag)
  • 1 ounce of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/4 lb. cooked nitrate free bacon   (optional)
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • OVEN TEMP:   350 degrees F        
  • TIME:  20 - 30 minutes until they begin to caramelize or until they are your preferred doneness. 
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How you Make It:

  • cut little ends off fresh sprouts, cut large sprouts in half and leave tiny ones whole.  The goal is to have all of your vegetables the same size so they all cook to the same doneness in the same amount of time.
  • with you hands, coat sprouts with a little olive or coconut oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • distribute on cookie sheet so they are not touching
  • bake at 350 and allow sprouts to caramelize on pan (CARAMELIZE - as the vegetables begin to cook, the natural sugars are released, begin to brown and create an amazing nutty flavor. )
  • add crumbled bacon if you like ( again this is optional) but a very nice addition - a little good fat and more protein :)
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Serve hot or warm as a side dish

VARIATIONS:  The above is only one very quick and easy way to enjoy Brussel Sprouts.  I will be adding more recipes for this amazing vegetable, but feel free to experiment on your own.  Add crumbled bacon to the above or try steaming them or adding them to other roasted vegetables.  Once roasted, they would make an amazing addition to quinoa or rice.  I served them as a side dish last night with Chicken Marsala and Mashed Potatoes. 

Be Fearless & Have Fun!  - Anita