As my container of Brussels sprouts rolled up the conveyor belt at the supermarket the cashier excitedly shared how much she loves Brussels sprouts; she loves them so much that she has them growing up the walkway to her house since that's the only area that gets sun. She continued by sharing her favorite recipe for a Brussels sprouts casserole complete with cream and multiple cheeses. I was excited.
I had never tried Brussels sprouts and I really didn't want my kids to grow up and say they've never tried Brussels sprouts either. While I'm a big fan of pretty much anything with cream and multiple cheeses, I wanted to prepare my Brussels sprouts in a less fussy (less fattening) way-they're supposed to be good for you, right? So I turned to a simple recipe from The Barefoot Contessa herself-Ina Garten, for roasted Brussels sprouts. OK so she's not necessarily known for her low fat foods, but she always has reliable recipes for sure.
I prepared them two ways-first true to the recipe and second with the addition of fresh cranberries and pepitas. So?
Yeah, no. The cartoons of my youth were right; Brussels sprouts are not yummy. I did like them a little bit raw. My 12 year old daughter and I chopped up one of the sprouts just after tossing with the oil, salt and pepper and both thought...this is good. But once out of the oven-not so much. I did however love the roasted cranberries and pepitas.
What did I do wrong? Come on Brussels sprouts lovers...what's the secret to loving them? Is it that they must be slathered with cream and cheese or is it that people just force them down like a big, bad pill knowing that they're eating something good for them? Share your secrets. I need to know.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Recipe by Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa)
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35-40 minutes until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and serve immediately.
My variation: Mix in 1 cup fresh cranberries and 1/4 cup roasted, salted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) and roast as directed.
The cranberry variation...well at least the cranberries and pepitas were yummy: