Friday, December 12, 2008
Christmas Time Reminds Me Of: Slightly Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
I don't know why brussels sprouts are so dreaded. As long as they are cooked properly, I think they are delightful. I feel that many veggies get a bad wrap, and it's often due to the fact that people don't cook them well - I mean, who likes brussels sprouts that are very strong tasting, or totally droopy because someone has boiled them to death? I can understand that they are a somewhat acquired taste that that comes with age, but I don't think they should have such a terrible reputation.
Brussels sprouts take 90-180 days to grow. They grow on a long stalk, 2-4 feet in length, in a spiral pattern. Besides being related to cabbage, they are also a close relative of broccoli!
Anyway, here is one way I like to cook brussels sprouts. It's quick, and requires little skill.
Slightly Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Makes 4 side dish servings
3/4 of a pound of brussels sprouts
1 tbsp of canola or vegetable oil
1/2-1 cup of water
salt and pepper to taste
Peel outer leaves off of brussels sprouts, trim ends (not too much or the whole sprout will fall apart!) and cut in half. Heat a shallow bottomed pan. Add oil and brussels sprouts. Place enough water in the pan so that the brussel sprouts are half covered. Season with a little salt and pepper.
Place lid over the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove lid, and let water completely evaporate. Taste a brussels sprout. If it's reasonably tender, caramelize the brussels sprouts (let them brown, stirring occasionally) gently, making sure not to blacken them. If not, add a bit more water, and simmer. Taste again. Once they are tender, caramelize them. Adjust seasoning as necessary.