You guys. YOU GUYS. Did you know that Brussels sprouts are the most delicious thing ever?
(PS- even if you don’t agree, I have a garlic tip in here, so stay with me people.)
I had previously imagined them as slimy, boiled, mini-cabbages. Which, if you don’t cook them with love, they can become. But Big Daddy has made them for me and I loved them. He took the reigns and cooked some with me during Thanksgiving, and now I’m obsessssssed. Three days in a row so far… sorry not sorry.
Anyway, here’s my basic “Brussels Sprouts for Beginners” recipe. I promise it’s easy. IF I CAN COOK IT, IT’S EASY. Trust me.
First, buy Brussels sprouts. I have not yet cooked with frozen- just fresh. So if anyone can give me pointers for converting this recipe to use frozen ones, please leave a comment.
Here is everything you will need for the basic recipe:
- Brussels Sprouts (I’ll talk portions in a minute)
- Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
I prefer to add garlic every time. EVERY TIME. Brussels sprouts and garlic go together like Snooki and the shore. Meant to be.
You can also add parmesan cheese, or reduction drizzles/sauces, like one I made of maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. The recipe I’m going to show you, though, calls for shallots.
Shallot is like red onion’s hotter, skinnier younger sister. Go with it.
Before I show you anything sprout-tastic, here’s my garlic tip: did you know you can take a head of garlic, and pre-chop/mince it up? And save it? And it’s super quick and easy?
Big Daddy taught me this, if you haven’t already guessed.
All you need to do is de-skin those suckers. Which sucks. I also take out the green part in the middle. This is called the “germ,” and it basically means your garlic is a bit older. Some people say it’s more bitter, and it doesn’t look great to see green bits in your garlic, so I say, take it out.
Then pulse your garlic in a food processor.
It will last for a week-ish in the fridge.
I also had to add shallots to these sprouts, so I cut those up nice and small.
Ok once you have the garlic and shallots ready, prepare the sprouts. You need to cut off their stems, then cut them in half. Cut from the top to the stem, so there is a piece of stem on both halves. Any leaves that fall off- let them. Then if any leaves look funky, peel them away.
As far as how much sprout you need- for this recipe, I used a little more than 7 oz of raw, trimmed sprouts. I think about 4 oz makes a good-sized side, or 6-8 oz for a meal, per person. Just remember to weigh after you trim them!
I don’t know why, but Big Daddy told me to blanch them first. A quick google search tells me it helps preserve color, texture, and flavor.
Use a spider-skimmer like tool to drop the sprouts in boiling, salted water for about 10-20 seconds, 30 max. The color will brighten wonderfully. Do this in stages, as you don’t want to crowd them.
Once they are all blanched, it’s cooking time! In a big pan, drop some olive oil. I used about a half tablespoon per 6-8 oz or so of spouts. The pan should be on medium heat.
Drop in the sprouts (be careful, if they are holding water it will spatter/steam) into the pan and let them sit for a minute. Not a literal minute necessarily but like “a minute.” Technical.
You want them to cook slowly but also brown/caramelize a little.
I honestly could not tell you how long mine cooked for. Maybe somewhere between 5-10 minutes. It all depends on the size of your sprouts, the heat and pan you are using, and how the sprouts are feeling that day. Keep a fork nearby and taste-test a medium sprout when they start took look more done- it should be softer, but also a little firm and have crunch. You also want to taste for salt, since salt also loves Brussels sprouts. Never salt without tasting first!
When it was about 2 or 3 minutes from being done, I added the shallots and garlic. I am watching my figure (obviously) so I didn’t add more oil- if it looked a little dry in the pan, I just sprayed cooking spray.
You want to avoid over-lubricating the sprouts, because it could make them mushy. If you want great flavor, cook them in half oil and half butter. Yum!
Sprout cooking is less of a science and more of an art. I can’t say, “sauté for seven minutes.” All sprouts are different. It’s best to play around with them a time or two and see how you like them cooked best. As for this recipe, when they look and taste done, take them off the stove and plate. Voila!
You can easily top with parmesan cheese for salty deliciousness, or try nuts for a heartier flavor. Bacon is also delicious with sprouts. Like I said, salt loves sprouts!
I chose to keep my sprouts just as they were- oil, shallots, and garlic. With salt and pepper. Perfection.
You can also go sweet with the savory and add a sauce or reduction. I made the pictured sprouts last night, but tonight I did something differently- I left out the shallots and at the last minute, added a very lightly reduced mixture of maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. (Per pound of sprouts, use a mixture of 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic.) I stirred the liquid around to coat the sprouts, and after about 30 seconds or so, plated. AMAZING. I was in heaven. I would have taken a picture but I was too fast eating them.
I hope this has educated you all about the wonderful ways to enjoy Brussels sprouts! I haven’t even tried roasting or shredding them yet, which are both amazing looking techniques. I will be sure to share them when I try them. What is your favorite way to eat my beloved sprouts?
PS- in case you’re wondering, for the pictured recipe I used about 8 oz of sprouts, 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, a small shallot, about two cloves of garlic, and salt/pepper to taste. I made this as a meal, but it could have been two side servings. The total for all sprouts? 5 WeightWatchers Points+! If you did make this a side it would be two servings at 2 Points+ each.