Not Your Mama’s Brussels Sprouts

Were you forced to eat boiled-to-death, mushy Brussels sprouts as a child?  Could you smell their fragrant odor the second you came in from your afternoon play, and wished to be anywhere else but in that kitchen?  Or, is it possible you are one of those weirdos that actually likes boiled-to-death, mushy Brussels sprouts?  If so, I’m sorry for the offense, but even you should try this easy, delicious method of cooking those cute little baby cabbages.  I’m telling you, these are not your Mama’s Brussels sprouts, but a firm, crisp, delicious way of getting some leafy greens!plated Brussels

Saturday night we re-visited one of Tigger’s favorite meals: Tigger’s Lasagna Rolls.  They’re such a favorite, we named them after her.  We’ve been eating a lot of salad lately, which is not a bad thing, but I felt like the fam needed a break from the raw, cold roughage.  I had picked up a bag of fresh Brussels sprouts at the store last week, so that was an easy choice.

I really thought I hated Brussels sprouts for years.  What turned me around was the discovery of fresh Brussels sprouts, like, in the produce section, and the realization that they didn’t have to come out of a can or be pulverized in boiling water.  If I’m being honest, that realization came from Jimmie, which most of my healthy food realizations do.  She prepared Brussels sprouts for me a few years ago that would make your tongue slap your brains out, and I couldn’t stop eating them!  Madre actually didn’t boil them to a mush too many times when I was growing up, but usually steamed them, which was ok.  She likes them Jimmie-style nowadays, so these kind of are my Mama’s Brussels sprouts!  skilletbrussels

Today’s share is a variation on what Jimmie did, but modified to meet my needs for this meal.  Lasagna rolls are a little bit of a process, with stovetop parts and oven parts, so I improvised and did a little of both with my sprouts, too.

First, wash your Brussels sprouts well, then cut off the stem ends.  I actually cut them in half, long-ways.  Some of the outer leaves jumped off, but I saved them, too and threw them in with the rest.  I didn’t care if it looked pretty; those leaves cook up kind of crispy, and that’s probably my favorite part!

Did you know you could deep-fry Brussels sprout leaves?  Must try!

I heated up my 12″ cast-iron skillet (after my lasagna rolls were in the oven for about 20 minutes), and sautéed some fresh garlic in some olive oil, and a little butter. skilletsprouts Burned garlic smells and tastes awful, so not too high on the heat.  Once the garlic started to get some movement, I added my prepared Brussels sprouts, and sautéed them around a bit before adding a good amount of salt and pepper.  When the garlic started to get a little too clingy with the pan, which was about 5 minutes in, I add a touch of white wine (maybe 2 tablespoons) to deglaze the pan a bit, but just let them keep working until it reduced out.

Once the lasagna rolls came out, I bumped up my oven temperature to 425 degrees so I could brown my New York Texas Toast.

What the heck is the deal with the New York Texas Toast?   Is it New York toast, or Texas toast, because that’s a big stretch on the map!

Back to the Brussels…I poked my entire cast-iron skillet full of Brussels sprouts into that 425 degree oven for about 5 minutes, to get the yummy caramelization that I love.  Maybe it was 7 minutes, I’m not sure, but everything was pretty much done at the same time, and the Brussels sprouts turned out perfectly…just the way I like them.  Garlicky, salty, and crispy, with browned edges.  Yum!

Making friends with the geographically-challenged toast.

Making friends with the geographically-challenged toast.

Cooked this way, the Brussels still have a nice, firm texture, and they don’t smell up the house nearly as much as boiling them, in my opinion.  There’s so much you could add to them to make them even more delicious:  chopped shallots, lemon zest, toasted nuts (pecans are awesome), or even crumbled bacon (which diminishes their healthy status somewhat, of course).  You can do the whole process in a high oven (does your oven often get high?), or throw down in a wok with your Brussels sprouts, just as long as you don’t submerge them in a pot of water and throw the torch to it.

If you haven’t tried Brussels sprouts this way, I highly recommend it.  Jimmie recommends it, Coach recommends it, Madre recommends it, Pooh recommends it, and Tigger says “eh”, but she’ll learn.  She ate just enough to make me happy, and to save room for plenty of her fabulous lasagna rolls!

I hope you’ll try this cooking method, and say “no” to boiled, mushy Brussels sprouts forever!  Or, you could just tell me where to stick it and go back to eating it your ol’ slimy way.  No skin off my nose, and since you’re probably getting them from a nasty can, there’ll be more fresh ones for me!

Here’s a basic roasting recipe that I like: Ina’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts.  If you want to get a little more creative, check out Real Simple’s 11 Recipes for Brussels Sprouts.  Sometimes it’s fun to change up your routine, try something new, and feel all self-righteous about how healthy your’e eating at the same time!

“Eat your Brussels sprouts!” ~ Mom

X,O,X,O,   Martie

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