Brussels Sprouts: The New Frontier

Growing up, I loathed fruits and vegetables. Fruits moreso than vegetables, but that’s a whole other blog post. My parents were successful in getting me to eat the basic veggies that any kid would eat, but given the choice between carrot sticks or a bag of chips, I’d go for the chips and wouldn’t look back. So needless to say, any strange vegetable at my dinner table was scary, and gross!

I had to be about nine years old (mid-1990s) when my mom had cooked brussels sprouts as another vegetable on our dinner table one night. I could smell them all the way from my bedroom; when overcooked, the sprouts give off almost a rotten-egg smell, due to the sulphur content they have. Just by the smell of them alone, I swore that I was never, ever  going to eat brussels sprouts. Scary, gross, and stinky! And truthfully – until today I had not touched, nor eaten one brussels sprout.

Fast-forward to 2012. Married for almost four years to a man who is no stranger to his fruits & veggies. Over Easter, we got to discussing food with my family, and brussels sprouts were mentioned. My mom stated that she really enjoys them-thus prompting the flashback to the stinky sprouts – and Mike also chimed in that he liked them as well.

This week I was challenged to try a new fruit or vegetable that I had never tried before.  To some, this may seem like an exciting adventure, and they’d be willing to jump right in and try something exotic. I, however, knew that this would be a bit intimidating. Then I thought back to my mom, and my husband, and decided to take on the brussels sprout.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts – adapted from Ina Garten

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 lbs brussels sprouts
  • olive oil (eyeball about 3 tbsp)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400*. Wash brussels sprouts, then cut off the brown ends, as well as any discolored exterior leaves.

2. In a bowl, toss sprouts & olive oil. Add salt & pepper.

3. Place sprouts, cut side down, on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast in oven for 35 minutes, periodically shaking the pan evenly so that the sprouts brown evenly. Serve immediately.

Ready to eat!

The Verdict: I liked them!

Looks can be deceiving. While preparing this dish, I was skeptical as to how the end result would actually taste. While trimming the sprouts, the child in me suggested that they looked like mini-brains – almost preparing myself to hate them already. After a few minutes in the oven, however, I was taken aback by the savory smell in my kitchen from not only the pork chops in my oven, but the brussels sprouts. A fresh, healthy, roasted-veggie smell that got my mouth watering.

I was impressed, mostly because they did not smell like rotten eggs this time around. Maybe it was the slow roasting, maybe it was the maturity. The flavor was very simple, and I found that the smaller sprouts tasted a bit sweeter than the larger ones.

So, I suppose that I can officially say that brussels sprouts will be making their way into our home another time soon for dinner…I am impressed that the challenge was successful, and even more impressed that I didn’t hate them. Eh…live and learn, I suppose 🙂

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