Brussel sprouts have the unfortunate reputation of being bland at best, and disgusting at worst. Kids despise the very name and this is ingrained from traumatic childhoods filled with the threat of finishing your brussel sprouts or no TV.
I must have had a very fortunate childhood as I never had brussel sprouts on the dinner table. Not only did this mean I just turned my distaste towards some other green (spinach, which I now love), it also means I grew up sprout-neutral. In fact, on my first taste, I fell in love with them, no kidding.
Now, to be fair, an overcooked, boiled brussel sprout does have less flavour than a soggy piece of cardboard which has been left out in the rain all summer, and less "Umami" than grits. If you like grits, I apologise.
But, it does not have to garner this emotion of displeasure it has unfairly earned, so for the rest of this recipe, I am going to refer to brussel sprouts with an exclamation mark, as such: Brussel Sprouts! See, thats more exciting already!
Today we are going to make a vegetable side dish, or you could serve the same as a salad if you like. Well, you can do whatever you like, its a free country I suppose. Except trying to pass this off as a steak; that will probably cause you to lose some friends.
Okay, lets begin:
- Brussel sprouts (As many as you want to eat)
- Cherry tomatoes (say about five per person)
- Bit of olive or other oil.
Cooking time: 20 minutes
We will begin by cutting the brussel sprouts in half. You want to have a sharp knife for this, and its okay if the outer leaf of the sprout wants to break off. Try to be as symmetric as possible, but if one piece is bigger than the other, don't worry! No reason to start disliking Brussel Sprouts! again.
Now, add a bit of oil to the pan and carefully place the Brussel Sprouts! flat-side-down on the pan. Naturally, make sure you have a pan large enough to hold all your half-Brussel Sprouts!
If you cooked any bacon just before, use that same pan with the bacon grease for the sprouts. What? You already washed it? Well, okay. Just some oil in the pan as normal then.
Brussel Sprouts!, even though we don't want to overcook them, do need to steam or boil to be really properly cooked. If they are not properly cooked, they will be hard and they taste quite sharp.
We let the Brussel Sprouts! sit flat-side-down for about 10 minutes on medium heat, then add just a bit of water up to roughly half the sprout height.
Now loosely cover the pan (making sure there is an opening for steam to escape) and forget about the sprouts for about 15 minutes on low-med heat. This is where I like to sprinkle a pinch of salt over the sprouts, but if you're sodium-conscious, you don't have to.
Meanwhile, wash those tomatoes and get them ready!
I love having colour contrasts, in this case the green and read could be lovely. Also, the texture will provide a nice balance between the slightly firm Brussel Sprouts! and the gooey cooked tomatoes.
After those Brussel Sprouts! have been simmering for about 10 mins, the water should be gone from the pan (remember the opening for the steam to escape? Thats where it went!) Don't worry if there is still a bit of water, just give it another few minutes. Either way, this is a good time to add those tomatoes, let them cook just for 3 minutes, thats all you need.
Once it is all done, carefully plate the sprouts using a fork, and the tomatoes using a spoon (they tend to fall apart). Top with crème fraîche, or sour cream if you like, and serve!
How about them Brussel Sprouts!? Serve that to your parents and show them you who's boss.
As with all the other recipes we put on this site, this is meant to be easy to follow. We are hobby chefs who love to cook, and we are always up for learning new techniques. If you know of anything in this recipe which can be done a different way, whether for increased ease of preparation or better taste, please add a comment below!
Whipped up by Shyamal Addanki
Whipped up by Shyamal Addanki