Towards the end of October, right around Halloween, they start popping up at the farmers markets. The stalks stacked high dotted with one of fall’s more polarizing vegetables. Of all the members of the Brassica family the humble brussel sprout gets its fair share of criticism.
In recent years it feels like there is a shift. They are becoming more en vogue. It became a sign of a true culinary adventurer to announce to your dining partners not only would you be ordering the brussel sprout. And, like “Sam I Am” you would eat them this way, that way, any way at all really.
The key to brussels sprouts is to recognize they are a kind of cabbage and should be treated as such. They are excellent finely shreded in a winter coleslaw with carrots, fennel, and a zippy lemon vinaigrette. They are at their best when roasted at high temperature. The outer leaves become deliciously crunchy. The vegetable loosens its grip on the waxy bitterness that comes from simply steaming. It takes on a light sweetness instead.
The preparation is straight forward. Half the sprouts, season, and toss with olive oil. The oven should be brought up to 400˚F. This high, high heat is necessary for the much sought after crispy results. Cooking will take 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye the pan. Rotating it and the contents through out the cooking process to ensure every sprout has the opportunity to reach its top flavor potential.