It has become increasingly difficult to shun Brussels sprouts. The one-time despised vegetable is ubiquitous on restaurant menus, and in my home kitchen, for good reason. It's a versatile, easy-to-cook cruciferous veggie that tastes good just about any way you prepare it: roasted, fried, sauteed, even boiled if you do it right. Here are five ideas for recipes that make good use of the sturdy sprouts.
Michelle Stark, Times food editor
Creamy Dijon Brussels
This recipe elevates boiled Brussels by slathering them in a creamy — but not entirely sinful — sauce. To make, fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Trim and halve 2 pounds of Brussels sprouts, then add those to the water. Cook for about 10 minutes, until rather soft. Meanwhile, mix ¼ cup sour cream, ¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano and plenty of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir to incorporate, then set aside. Drain Brussels sprouts and rinse with cold water so they don't cook further. Drain well again. Add sprouts to the sauce and toss to coat thoroughly. Serve, and garnish with pepper and lemon zest. Serves 4. Recipe from diethood.com.
Brussels and Bacon Frittata
Got more Brussels than you can use? Throw them into a frittata. To make this one, cook ½ pound sliced thick-cut bacon in a large ovenproof skillet for about 5 minutes. Add 2 minced shallots and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ¾ pound chopped Brussels sprouts, season with salt and pepper and cook until just lightly browned. While that is cooking, beat 8 large eggs, 2 tablespoons whole milk and more salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup shredded Gruyere or cheddar cheese and ¼ cup chopped chives. Pour that mixture into the skillet with the Brussels and cook over medium heat. Make sure the heat doesn't get too high, or it will burn the bottom of the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes until the eggs are just set, then transfer the skillet to the oven and broil the frittata for about 3 minutes. This serves 6 to 8 people. Recipe from Food and Wine.
Brussels in Peanut Vinaigrette
This recipe uses a more traditional Brussels cooking method: roasting. To make this recipe, start by heating your oven to 400 degrees. Trim and halve 2 pounds of Brussels sprouts, then toss with ¼ cup peanut oil or neutral oil. Season with salt and pepper and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, then stir and cook for another 15 minutes until crisp. If sprouts are browning too fast, reduce heat a bit. Now, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, mix 4 teaspoons Champagne vinegar and 2 teaspoons honey, then add 2 tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter and whisk until thick and creamy. Add water until it thins out a bit and is the consistency of salad dressing. Season with hot sauce to taste. When the sprouts are done, remove from the oven and add to a large bowl. Add half the dressing, too. Peel 1 large navel orange and cut it into segments, then add that to the bowl along with 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped dried tart cherries or cranberries. Add more dressing to taste, then serve. Serves 8 to 10. Recipe adapted from the New York Times.
Brussels Sprouts Hash
If popping whole Brussels sprouts into your mouth doesn't sound very appetizing, try cutting them into slivers or shredding them using a mandoline. They can then be used raw in salads or cooked ever so slightly in a recipe like this hash. To make, cut the bottoms off 2 pounds of Brussels and then thinly slice them. You can also use a mandoline or even a food processer. As they're sliced, place them in a bowl with 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice. Then, heat 2 tablespoons each olive oil and butter in a large skillet and, when hot, add sprouts, 3 cloves minced garlic and 2 tablespoons mustard seeds or poppy seeds. Cook until sprouts are lightly cooked but still green and crunchy, about 3 or 4 minutes. Stir often so the leaves don't burn. Add ¼ cup dry white wine, salt and pepper to taste and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice. Stir in a teaspoon of lemon zest just before serving. This recipe serves 8 to 12. Recipe adapted from the New York Times.
Asparagus and Sprouts Salad
This light salad that utilizes almost-raw Brussels sprouts and asparagus is perfect for spring. Start by making a dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar, 4 tablespoons fresh orange juice, 1 small minced shallot and salt and pepper to taste. Now, onto the veggies. First, fill a medium bowl about halfway with water and add some ice. Then, fill a medium pot with just a couple of inches of water and bring it to a boil. Trim the bottoms of a pound of Brussels sprouts, then start peeling off the leaves so you have a large pile. Add those to the boiling water for a minute, then remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer right away to the ice water bath. Leave them in for another minute or so, then drain well. Using a vegetable peeler, shave a pound of asparagus so you have long, thin strips. Add leaves and asparagus to a large bowl, then add ½ cup pine nuts and 2 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese. Top with dressing and toss to coat well. Serves 4. Recipe adapted from Country Living.