Last weekend I attended a comedy show featuring Nick Kroll as the opening act. During a bit about food and The Food Network, Kroll joked that “No vegetable has made a bigger 180 in our lifetime than Brussels sprouts.”
It’s funny because it’s true.
Growing up in the ‘80s, my only reference for “sprouts” was the sitcom kids who, when told that they would be having Brussels sprouts with dinner, inevitable reacted like they were being served a fate worse than death. Even at a young age my pop culture obsession had a large impact on my life and so I never went near the things. (Side note: my mother also never prepared them; broccoli was her go-to green.)
Years later I was out to dinner on the Lower East Side of Manhattan at a restaurant called Beauty & Essex. The restaurant was new at the time and super trendy. You enter the restaurant threw a faux-pawnshop. Reservations needed to be made weeks in advance. I was dining with some of more fit friends, one of whom is a pescatarian, so we were focusing on healthier menu items. We wound up ordering the Brussels sprouts with tomato and lemon butter as one of our sides and they were amazing. I had been expecting small, soggy cabbage bites, but these were flavorful and firm.
Suddenly, sprouts were on my radar.
The poor, misunderstood sprout has simply been wrongly prepared for decades. Back when Kevin Arnold was eating them on The Wonder Years Brussels sprouts were probably just boringly boiled. Flash forward to the present – Brussels sprouts are everywhere and chefs have made them far more appetizing; you can have them grilled, roasted, sautéed, braised, you name it, there’s probably a chef out there doing it.
Since there may still be a few sprout skeptics here are a few foolproof recipes to help you break into Brussels sprouts:
What’s your favorite way to make Brussels sprouts?