So last night, I had brussels sprouts for dinner. I was very much against the idea until my mother taught me how to make them properly. They’re quite good with bacon bits, actually. Here are some of my favorite recipes.
While the origins of Brussels sprouts are unknown, the first mention of them can be traced to the late 16th century. They are thought to be native to Belgium, specifically to a region near its capital, Brussels, after which they are named. They remained a local crop in this area until their use spread across Europe during World War I. Brussels sprouts are now cultivated throughout Europe and the United States. In the U.S., almost all Brussels sprouts are grown in California.
1. Baby Brussels Sprouts with Buttered Pecans (6 servs/40 mins)
- 1/2 cup pecan halves, cut crosswise into thirds
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds baby Brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Spread pecan pieces in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan and bake until fragrant and a few shades darker, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt to nuts and toss until butter is melted and nuts are coated.
While nuts bake, cook Brussels sprouts in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes, then transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain sprouts and pat dry.
Melt remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to moderately high, then add sprouts and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned in patches, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then stir in pecans and serve.
2. Frisée and Endive Salad with Warm Brussels Sprouts and Toasted Pecans
- 3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts (preferably small), trimmed and halved lengthwise (quartered if large)
- 1/2 cup pecan halves, halved lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 oz frisée, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
- 3 Belgian endives (1 lb), cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
Whisk together vinegar, water, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Melt butter in a large shallow baking pan (1 inch deep) in lower third of oven, about 3 minutes. Toss sprouts in pan with butter, pecans, and salt. Arrange sprouts, cut sides down, in 1 layer and roast in lower third of oven until undersides of sprouts are golden and nuts are fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes.
Whisk vinaigrette, then transfer warm sprouts and nuts to a large bowl and toss with frisée, endive, and enough vinaigrette to coat. Serve immediately.