It pains me to think about all the people who don’t like Brussels sprouts.
In all honesty, Brussels are amazing. They’re full of flavor, have an amazing texture and serve as an almost perfect vehicle for butter, spice and salt.
Most people who insist that they hate Brussels were, I find, introduced very early in life to Brussels in their boiled form.
This is enough to frighten and dismay anyone. Boiled Brussels are not good. They are not bad, exactly, but they certainly fail to display this amazing Brassica in all its wondrous, delicious glory.
My family has Brussels at least once a week as a side, or sometimes we add andouille sausage to them and have them as a main dish. This is an easy, one-pan recipe that can be dressed up or down depending on the situation, and has been known to win over the most hardcore Brussels hater.
ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS FOR TWO
12 to 16 Brussels sprouts, either fresh and washed or frozen and thawed
Chunky sea salt to taste
Ground mixed peppercorns to taste (instead of plain black pepper; it’s too harsh)
2 ounces unsalted butter
Optional: 1 ½ links of andouille sausage sliced into circles, garlic, beer, parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. A high temperature will crisp the outside and cook the insides perfectly.
Cut the stems off the sprouts, taking off the bottommost leaves (in order to peel the outer layer of leaves off the sprout).
Cut the sprouts lengthwise, along the stem, not across it. Lay them out on a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the salt and pepper on top and put ’em in the oven.
After about 15 minutes, take out the pan and flip the sprouts over, stir ’em up, and just generally move them around on the pan. Add the butter, garlic and the andouille sausage if you’re using them. Those ingredients will burn if they stay in the oven for as long as the Brussels take, so add them in with about 15 or 20 minutes to go.
After another 15 minutes or so, remove the pan and stir everything around again. If you want to steam the Brussels in beer, transfer them all (sausage, too!) to a glass baking dish with a lid, pour in about 2 ounces of good-quality beer (brown ales work really well) put the lid on the dish and let it sit in the oven while the oven cools, for about 10 minutes.
If your Brussels look a little charred on the outside, have no fear! I find that a touch of char and a little crunch make a Brussels sprout so much better.
Top with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Serve hot, with cold, rich beer and grilled pork. Perfect as a side dish for late spring cookouts.
Notes: I do recommend using real butter here. The stems of the sprouts are tough and the fats in the butter really help soften and break them down. Other oils and things just don’t work as well as animal-based fat.
Previously frozen Brussels may take less time to roast than fresh. The freezer does a lot of the work of breaking down the stems, so they may be ready 10 or so minutes earlier. Keep an eye on them and take them out when they look (and smell) the way you like.