I’d like to tell you that Iris loves brussels sprouts, but she doesn’t. She does love broccoli, which doesn’t taste any more bitter to me than sprouts, so go figure. Sometimes she likes the creamy braised brussels sprouts from All About Braising, but probably more for the cream than the sprouts.

I, on the other hand, could easily eat a bowl of brussels sprouts for dinner. Here’s how I usually make them. Halve two cups of brussels sprouts. In a large skillet or saute pan, fry a couple of strips of bacon, crumble and reserve the bacon, and leave some fat in the pan. Raise the heat to medium high and throw in the sprouts and some salt. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are lightly browned. Deglaze with chicken broth, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook to desired tenderness. Stir in fresh ground pepper and the reserved bacon.

Until recently, I would make this only occasionally (because brussels sprouts are a big pain to trim), and only when I could get good sprouts at the farmer’s market (because supermarket sprouts are generally old and tattered, and old specimens are probably responsible for brussels sprouts’ bad reputation). Now I make them all the time, thanks to Mark Bittman, who reminded me in a column last winter that frozen brussels sprouts exist and are almost always better than fresh:

> At a meal last fall at Citronelle, the great Washington restaurant, I was served a delicious plate of brussels sprouts. When I asked the chef, Michel Richard, where they were from, he said without hesitation, “the freezer.”

Buy “petite” frozen sprouts (I get Safeway Select brand) if possible.

Brussels sprouts at market
Brussels sprouts at Broadway farmers market, Seattle

5 thoughts on “Sprouts

  1. Christos Dimitrakakis

    Great to have a new site, with entertaining stories with interesting tidbits of info. It’s the style we’ve all come to expect and enjoy from your writings, I guess.

    Specifically with regards to brussel sprouts are concerned, my own experience has been decidedly mixed; sometimes they are way too bitter – I am not sure if they are not ripe enough or have been left for too long on the shelf or what.

  2. Stacy

    I will ask the stupid question: how exactly do you trim sprouts? cut off the brown bits at the top & bottom?

  3. mamster Post author

    Cut off the bottom and pull off any dried- out leaves. But frozen sprouts don’t need to be trimmed.

  4. Lauren

    Those creamy braised brussels sprouts sound fantastic. I’m going to have to get All About Braising before our Christmas dinner. Brussels Sprouts are always on the menu. Last year I did Julia’s butter braised ones and they were fantastic.

  5. Susan

    My favorite brussels sprouts recipe (which I refer to as brussels sprouts candy): Trim sprouts and cut in half. Melt butter and pour over sprouts. Mix well. Mince garlic and add. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Turn sprouts so they are all cut-side down. Roast for 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees until caramelized. Try not to burn the roof of your mouth when you can’t wait to eat them.

    I don’t measure anything, so haven’t offered measurements. I have converted quite a few people to brussels sprouts this way. I can’t remember where I got the recipe or if I changed it at all. But there it is.

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