Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Simple, Wonderful, Sprouts (Brussels, that is)

My obsession with brussels sprouts started just about three years ago – shortly after Zoey was born. Before then, the fell into the category of “vegetable that I don't know much about” along with “what's with the spelling” and “things a lot of people hate for some reason”. Basically, I never ate them, but didn't have any reason why.
Delicious mini-cabbages!

Then, when Zoey was three weeks old, we went on a road trip. The main purpose was to surprise Randy's parents, which we did. However, we also visited my friends Lisa and Erik in San Francisco. They had also just had a baby, so we wanted to catch up and exchange oohs and ahs. On that visit, Erik made grilled Brussels sprouts and changed my world for the better.

Brussels sprouts have the advantage of being related to cabbage. I know that for many people, this isn't exactly a selling point, but since I only shop once a month, I adore vegetables that stay fresh a long time in the fridge. Cabbage relatives top the list. After I've eaten the salad greens, tomatoes (technically a fruit, but who cares), the summer squashes, beans, and peas, I come to the cabbage-types – broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.
All cut up and severed-finger free

I always buy a huge bag of brussels sprouts because I know that no matter how many I get, we'll eat them all and go looking for more. They are that good.

They are also ridiculously easy to make. I don't care how bad of a cook someone is, these are within their grasp. The only danger is possibly cutting a finger instead of a sprout. However, I'm pretty accident prone and I've avoided it thus far, so I'm guessing the average person is more than safe.

Once you have trimmed the stem end off the brussels sprouts and cut them in half, you get to have some fun. Dump then into a gallon ziploc bag (or back in the bag you bought them in, if you used them all. Pour in some olive oil, salt, and pepper and then shake it all up.

Coated and ready
I love this method because it doesn't require me to dirty a dish or get my hands funky mixing it all up. I know what you're thinking...why do you have to use hands? That's what spoons are for! That's because you've never seen the disaster zone I can make with awkwardly sized food and a spoon. Bags are just better all around. Another benefit is that excess oil and seasonings stick to the side of the bag rather than the food, which helps fool-proof these.

After that, it's just a matter of tossing them on a broiler pan and broiling them for four minutes/side or so. Erik the Skilled made them on his barbecue. I am less talented, and also like to eat them year-round, which
precludes using the barbecue. My broiler is a good substitute.

Almost good enough to eat raw
Usually, I eat a good half-dozen before I get dinner dished up. While it's hard to call it the best part, since it's all good, I especially enjoy the single leaves that have fallen off – they are crispy and salty and wonderful in every way. I could eat them all day.


I dare you to eat these and not love them.  They are irresistible.

That's it! It's a nice, simple recipe that makes life better for all involved.

1 lb brussels sprouts
1 T olive oil
1 ½ t salt (or to taste)
1 t pepper (or to taste).

Trim the hard end of the stems, then cut each sprout in half lengthwise
Put in a bag with oil, salt, and pepper, and shake until evenly coated.
Place the top rack of the oven 6” under the broiler (second highest setting)
Broil sprouts for 3-4 minutes, flip, and broil for 3-4 additional minutes or until tender.


  1. I love these, too. But I usually add garlic powder as well and bake them at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, and then turn off the oven and let them roast for an hour or so more. I say the browner they get, the more delicious they are.

    1. I'll have to try them that way at some point...if I can find the patience! This is one of those recipes that enables my low attention span and lack of pre-planning...I can make it beginning to end while whatever meat I cooked rests.