Yes, I do realize I'm vegetarian. And while the glaring fact is that I don’t eat meat, I pride myself in finding pretty creative ways to not eat like a rabbit. Poring over recipes, fusing unexpected flavors, sampling foreign cuisine: these are things that excite me. Open-mindedness has led me to fantastic discoveries, not only in the realm of food, but every aspect of life. That being said, I f*king hate Brussels sprouts.
Yes, it’s true. I recall the first time I sampled Brussels sprouts, as I’m sure many do. It’s one of those things a person tends to recall, like a failed test or painfully awkward encounter. It went like so: I was seven. It was blanched and topped with swiss cheese. It didn’t stay down very long.
Fast-forward fourteen years: A windy December night, I took refuge in the toasty, dim candlelight of Poco, a little Spanish Tapas bar in the East Village. Drinks in hand, my friends and I scanned the menu for comfort food, a thing with which the restaurant is familiar. Their lobster mac n’ cheese and mushroom truffle croquettes came highly recommended. However, comfort wasn’t served that night in the suspected incarnation of starch and gooey cheese, topped with more starch and a generous sprinkling of cheese. Incredibly, it arrived in a dish of warm caramelized Brussels sprouts tossed with chili, mint and lemon…
Since then, every one of my Poco sprout recreations has been a success. I suppose when something’s prepared correctly with fresh, simple ingredients, it doesn’t take much for it to taste great.
So, the question remains: Do I still hate Brussels sprouts? Hell, yes. But oven roasted Brussels sprouts with sea salt, lemon and extra virgin olive oil? Well, now, that’s completely different…
recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
1 1/2 lbs Brussels Sprouts
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp sea salt
pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Cut off the ends of Brussels sprouts and pull off yellow outer leaves.
3. Mix sprouts in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
4. Transfer sprouts to a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp outside and tender inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the Brussels sprouts evenly. Serve hot. Enjoy.