Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

by Cate on November 12, 2009

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts

The babysitter was organizing and putting away my latest purchases from the farmer’s market this past weekend.  I love that she’s a neat freak.

“What is this?” she asked, peering suspiciously into a plastic bag on the counter.

“Brussels Sprouts.”

“No, thank you,” she said, as she wrinkled her nose.

“Have you ever had them?” I asked her.

“No.”

“Good, then you’ll be having them this week with us.”  Sometimes it feels like I have three kids, instead of two, but there is always room for one more.

Truth be told, I haven’t had brussels sprouts myself since I was a kid and my mom was doing all the cooking.  I reacted then just as the babysitter did, wrinkling my nose in disgust.  I’m pretty sure my mom was the only one of us eating them back then.

I can’t even explain why I bought them this weekend.  For some reason, they just spoke to me.  I wanted to give them another chance.  Just like with the kids … just because I didn’t like something back then doesn’t mean that I won’t like something now.  Tastes change.  They get more developed.  Or more narrowed.  They evolve.  You get more open to new things.  More willing to try.  And this time, it was brussels sprouts.

The planets must have aligned just right, because since I bought them on Sunday, I came across three recipes for them. without even looking, each one looking better than the one before.  Tonight, Nick saw me cutting them up on the cutting board, and asked what they were.  I got pretty much the same reaction as I did from the babysitter.  “But you just have to try one.  If you don’t like it, that’s ok.  But then you’ll know you don’t like it, instead of maybe missing out on something you might love.”  He nodded, though rolled his eyes along with it.

Do you think that serving brussels sprouts and steamed broccoli alongside macaroni and cheese lessens the guilt?  I’m pretty sure it does, because with all that green on the platter, I wasn’t feeling any guilt at all.

I told Nick that when I was his age, I didn’t like them either, and I decided to try them again.  Tonight.  With him.  He watched as I took a bite.  Hey.  They’re not half bad!  Maybe it was the garlic.  Or the butter.  I’m pretty sure adding garlic and butter to most things makes them much more palatable.  Well, probably not to liver (blech!), but quite a few things are definitely improved with butter and garlic.

“Hey, I like them!” he exclaimed after the first bite he took.  He had carefully peeled off a leaf and tried it with great trepidation.

“See?  And if you take a bite of macaroni with the brussels sprouts, you might like it even more.”

He tried that and managed to eat one whole brussels sprout.  Along with the V8 juice he drank, I can live with that.

Madeline?  Had several.  She’s pretty easygoing though.  So far, potatoes are the only thing she absolutely refuses to eat.  And for the babysitter, she gets her first bite at lunch tomorrow.  Lucky thing.

Brussels sprouts.  Who knew?  Try ’em.  They just may surprise you too.

Two years ago todayNew England Clam Chowder, perfect for our chilly Fall nights.
Three years ago today … a delicious French bread pizza from Rachael Ray.
Four years ago today … Nick’s date night.

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Recipe courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens, November 2009

2 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
1 Tbsp. rice oil or olive oil
7 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. butter
1/2 bunch fresh thyme (about 10 sprigs)
1 large sprig fresh rosemary, halved
2 tsp. fennel seeds
1-1/4 tsp. kosher salt or 1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sherry or white wine vinegar

1. In a large saucepan cook Brussels sprouts, uncovered, in enough lightly salted boiling water to cover for 3 minutes; drain well. Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Place a very large heavy skillet or sauté pan over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil and garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add half the butter. Increase heat to medium-high; carefully arrange half the sprouts, cut-sides down, in the hot skillet. Top with half the thyme, rosemary, fennel seeds, and salt. Cook, uncovered, 3 to 4 minutes or until the sprouts are well-browned. Remove sprouts from pan. Repeat with remaining butter, sprouts, thyme, rosemary, fennel seeds, and salt.

3. Return all sprouts to skillet along with sherry. Quickly toss to distribute flavors. Makes 8 (1/2-cup) servings plus leftovers.

4. Make Ahead: Step 1 may be done 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate the well-drained Brussels sprouts.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Claire November 12, 2009 at 8:54 pm

I used to not like brussels sprouts but now…mmmm! There are very few vegetables that I do not like. I’ve never made them fresh but the frozen ones work for me.

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Madeline November 13, 2009 at 12:00 am

In case they have them next week at the market, try this recipe and tell me if it is any good: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/brussels-sprouts-with-bacon-recipe/index.html. I am tempted to make it every Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I just can’t pull the trigger. It gets 5 stars with over 126 review on the website, so it has to be good, right?

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Joanne November 13, 2009 at 7:15 am

It is so funny that the only vegetable Madeline won’t eat is potatoes. Which is the only vegetable that most people WILL eat!

I didn’t like most vegetables growing up but that was mainly for lack of trying them,. I love Brussels Sprouts now! They are like bite-sized cabbages and anything in mini form just seems like so much fun!

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Ramona November 13, 2009 at 9:49 am

I live brussel sprouts. I was wondering if you had bought any after seeing them in your weekend pictures. Glad you did.

I like to put them in my butter beans when I boil them. Not very fancy, but I like them that way.

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Michele November 13, 2009 at 10:56 am

Sounds like you’re telling my story. I never tasted them but as a child I always turned my nose up at a mention of them even though I don’t recall my mom making them. I do remember talking about them. Lately I’ve wanted to try them to because pretty much everything I eat now I didn’t eat when I was a child. I was a very picky eater and thankfully grew out of it. I watched RR make a pasta dish with brussels sprouts this week and I really want to try it.

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Debbie November 13, 2009 at 11:19 am

There are many things that I wouldn’t eat when I was a kid but definitely eat them now! Brussel sprouts is one of them. Yours look great……

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Sarah Caron November 13, 2009 at 11:36 am

My mother never liked Brussels sprouts, so I didn’t eat them until I was an adult and I fell instantly in love. When she gave them a chance a couple years ago, she did too. Our fav is my recipe for Brussels sprouts with lemon vinaigrette — so tasty. We are also a big fan of oven roasted ones with bacon and shallots. Mmm.

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Tracy November 13, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Check out food52.com–they had a contest last week (or maybe it was the week before) to submit “Your Best Brussels Sprout Recipe”–lots to choose from there! I heart them, myself…

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Natasha - 5 Star Foodie November 13, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I need to make the brussels sprouts for my daughter – haven’t tried yet!

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Ashley November 13, 2009 at 10:19 pm

These look great! I was afraid of brussels sprouts for a long time, too, but now I adore them (although I prefer to eat them at restaurants so my house doesn’t stink like sulfur for a few days haha).

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Barbara November 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm

I make a recipe somewhat like this but mine has proscuitto and Parmesan in it. My family demands it every holiday. We LOVE brussel sprouts. Your recipe looks delicious and so much easier! I will make yours just for us.

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Diane Smith November 14, 2009 at 2:19 pm

We cut them in half and put them in the oven with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them at 400 until they are brown and crispy….they are delicious this way! You have to use fresh brussel sprouts though….not frozen like my husband did….;;;;;;

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Patsy November 14, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I discovered brussels sprouts last winter… and found that I love them, too! will have to try your recipe as well… always looking for great ways to prepare them – just for fun and variety!

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joe November 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Wowww.. This looks so good, thanks for the recipe.

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Micheal J Anderson January 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm

I didn’t try brussel sprouts until I met my wife and I was surprised that so many people didn’t like them!

They are best cooked in to a meal though and if you make them in to a delicious recipe like this one with garlic, they are certainly worth trying.

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