All About Brussels Sprouts
Aah, the Brussels sprout. You either love ‘em or hate ‘em! We love them! They have that beautifully concentrated cabbage taste that brings back all the memories of home but a tad more bitter and in a package that you can really do so much more with!
Brussels sprouts look a bit like adorably tiny cabbages. You can buy them either loose or on the original stalk as they’re grown. As with any vegetable, you are looking for firm, bright specimens. If they are squashy or bendy, you should be looking for something else to serve for dinner tonight!
At home, after washing, peel off 2-3 layers of the outer leaves. Chop into halves or quarters and blanch them.
With any Brussels sprout dish, the best technique is to blanch them first. This will allow for a vegetable that is cooked through without the outside being overdone or mushy. First boil them briefly in a little water, parboiling (steaming) for 30 seconds to 4-5 minutes depending on the heat. Keep an active watch on them. Chef Phil lets his Brussels sprouts simmer for up to 4-5 minutes before he puts them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and keep them crisp and bright.
The cool thing about Brussels sprouts is that they have a dense surface when cooked to allow for a nice caramelization effect when sautéed in a pan with a knob of butter. For a delicious brussels sprout hash, caramelize some shallots with chopped toasted walnuts, butter and lemon (see recipe!). With a little Parmesan cheese to finish, it’s a delightful fall dish.