My Top Ten

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bad rap

Brussel sprouts are the victim of a bad rap; slang for "unjustified criticism" which I think applies quite accurately in this instance. I really want to encourage you to try something new, and most people immediately turn their noses up at the mention of this innocent vegetable. Brussel sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable known for thier ability to help lower cholesterol. Also, brussel sprouts provide protection against cancer because of their high levels of glucosinolates, affectionaly referred to by some as the "anti-oxidant of youth".

How to shop for brussel sprouts: choose sprouts that are bright in color and are firm and compact; you do not want a spongy feeling when you squeeze it.

How to prepare brussel sprouts: well, there are many methods BUT they are to die for when you pan fry them and cause caramelization to occur as shown in the above picture. Rinse your sprouts and cut the hard white stem off and then slice the sprout in half, it will look like the inside of a mini cabbage.

How to caramelize brussel sprouts: coat an 8" frying pan with a medium amount of olive oil (relative to the amount of brussel sprouts you are cooking) and set over medium-high heat. I personally like to use a combination of olive oil and butter, for richer flavor. While your pan is getting nice and hot, lightly toss to coat the brussel sprouts with olive oil and salt & pepper. Once your pan is sizzling, add your brussel sprouts one at a time; cut side down. Allow them to cook until they begin to turn brown and soften, but not mushy. Once the bottoms are good and roasted, give them a few turns around the pan to lightly roast the sides. Serve immediately.

How to liven up any veggie dish: roast nuts and add them to the vegetables. Favorites 'round here are pine nuts and sliced almonds, but really any nut will add pizaz to your vegetable dish.

How to roast nuts: toast to coat (lightly) with olive or canola oil and herbs of your choice. Spread out into a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast nuts in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.

Sorry, I kindof got onto this "how to" kick and ran with it. Break out of your comfort zone and give these bad boys a try. You will not be disappointed!