It involved boiling the sprouts into oblivion. Once they were reduced to near mush, you'd mound them on your plate, maybe add some butter and salt. You'd then gag down a few bites on the premise that they were healthy, but mostly spend the rest of the meal pushing them around your plate until enough time had passed that it was acceptable to throw them away.
Then along came kale. Kale changed the vegetable world. Kale, in all its wrinkled goodness, suddenly made vegetables cool, hip even. More importantly, kale introduced Americans to the idea that there actually are many ways — including many delicious ways — to prepare most vegetables.
Waiting in the wings for their own hipster moment? Brussels sprouts. Soon they were popping up on chic menus at restaurants around the country. And they most certainly were not boiled to oblivion.
So to help you embrace the hipper, more delicious side of Brussels sprouts, we've assembled 10 fresh ideas for getting your greens.
10 FRESH WAYS WITH BRUSSELS SPROUTS:
— Oven-roasted: Cut sprouts in half, then toss with just a touch of olive oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 425 F for 15 minutes. Add cubes of golden delicious apples and roast for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with toasted sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.
— Pan-roasted: Cut sprouts in half and place in a deep skillet with 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 3 cloves minced garlic. Cook, uncovered and stirring now and again, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender and browned.
— Slaw: Shave or shred 1/2 pound of sprouts. The slicing disc of a food processor is ideal. Add 1/2 cup sliced scallions, 1/2 thinly sliced bell pepper and 1/2 cup corn kernels. Whisk together 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup buttermilk, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Season with kosher salt, black pepper and a splash of hot sauce. Toss with the vegetables until thoroughly coated.
— Home fries: Quarter 1/2 pound sprouts and 1/2 pound new potatoes. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. In a large deep skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add the sprouts and potatoes and cook over medium-high until browned on all sides and tender. Season with salt and black pepper.
— Hash: Blanch quartered sprouts in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente. Combine in a skillet with diced corned beef and a diced onion. Add a splash of oil if the corned beef doesn't have much fat on it. Cook until everything is browned, turning occasionally. Serve topped with fried or poached eggs.
— Grilled cheese: Toss halved sprouts with a bit of oil, salt and black pepper. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet for 20 minutes at 425 F. Arrange the following between 2 slices of sourdough bread: sprouts, Emmenthaler or Swiss cheese, and sliced pickles that have been patted dry with paper towels. Melt a little butter in a skillet and griddle the sandwich until the cheese is melted and the bread is browned and crispy, flipping halfway through.
— Saute: Saute chopped salami, chopped pancetta and quartered sprouts with a chopped onion until the vegetables are tender and everything is golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, leaving any fat in the pan. Sear pork chops in the pan until they reach 145 F at the centre, approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side for a 1-inch-thick chop. Top the chops with the sprout mixture.
— Fried: Heat a large saucepan with 1/2 inch of oil until very hot, about 300 F. Working in batches, fry quartered sprouts until browned and crispy, about 4 to 6 minutes. Drain on paper towels and toss with salt and grated Parmesan cheese.
— Pizza: Blanch quartered sprouts in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. On a prepared pizza crust, arrange sprouts, thinly sliced red onions, sliced mushrooms and mozzarella. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Top with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
— Warm grain salad: Boil barley until tender, according to package instructions. Blanch quartered sprouts and small diced butternut squash in boiling salted water for 7 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Drain and combine with the barley. Add a handful of dried cranberries and the zest and juice of an orange and a lemon. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt, black pepper and chopped fresh tarragon.
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