Brussels sprouts are probably the most underrated vegetable ever, probably due to the fact that most people just boil them to death and they turn bitter.  But cooked properly, they can be delicious.  Here is a restaurant recommendation and some recipes to convince you. 🙂  The salad is quick, easy, cool, filling, low-calorie, healthy and delicious! (Wow, that’s a lot of adjectives….)

I suspect that one of the keys to getting mild, nutty-flavored brussels sprouts is to buy them really fresh.  Then, cook them right away — don’t let them sit long in the fridge.  Also, per the comment below from Mo Pinwil, if they have been affected by a frost (late in the fall) they might be bitter to begin with.

A few months ago I ate at Zaytinya, a Turkish restaurant in Washington D.C.  My quilting friend Rhonda recommended it.  Our waitress recommended her favorite dish –the brussels sprouts.  My dining companion was skeptical, but ordered them to humor me.  They were the first thing that arrived, and they were incredible.  Steamed tender, then flash-fried so they were crispy on the outside, drizzled with olive oil, spices and capers, over coriander (I think)-flavored mayonnaise.  To this day, one of our secret jokes is saying “brussels sprouts” the way Cookie Monster says “coooookie”.  I only wish I could duplicate the recipe at home.

But here’s another brussels sprouts recipe, also delicious and much simpler.  I saw this on the salad bar at my grocery store one day and thought “I can make that.”  The raisins are my own addition.

Brussels Sprout Salad

1-2 pounds brussels sprouts, washed and cut in half (quarters if they are large)
1-2 handfuls walnuts, broken in pieces
1-2 handfuls raisins
1/2 – 1 cup shredded parmesan (not grated like the consistency of sand)
A dash of vegetable oil or very light olive oil
White balsamic vinegar

Wash and cut the brussels sprouts and put them in a microwaveable bowl with a lid or a plate placed loosely on top.  Cook on full power for 3-4 minutes (no need to add water – they will steam in the water left on them from washing); they should be tender but firm.  If there is any water in the bottom of the bowl drain it out.  Add raisins, walnuts, balsamic vinegar and a little oil to the bowl and stir.  (You want the vinegar to get in between the leaves of the brussels sprouts.)  Just before serving, add the parmesan cheese and toss.

I shared this recipe with my hostess at a teaching visit to Maryland recently and here is what she had to say:

“I meant to tell you that when my Mom was here, we tried your brussels sprout salad recipe and it was a hit!  The two of us ate almost a pound of brussels between us!  This will be a repeat I assure you.”

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Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
(from my friend Jody, who ate them this way in England, though honestly, the recipe seems more Italian to me . . .)

Wash Brussels sprouts and par boil.  (Use the microwave as explained in the recipe above.)

Slice each in half.

Saute in olive oil with garlic and seasoning (we just used salt and pepper) and a dash of hot pepper flakes. Cook until tender – DO NOT OVERCOOK!

Enjoy!

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December 2011:  The other day David brought me brussels sprouts on the stalk as a “bouquet” of flowers.  I loved it!  Of course, I had to cook some for dinner that night, and it had to be quick and easy.  I washed them, sliced them in half and steamed them in the microwave for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes, just until they were tender.  Then I melted a tablespoon of butter over them, tossed in a tiny sprinkle of nutmeg, and livened up the flavor with about 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar.  They were delicious!  A new favorite way to prepare them when I’m in a hurry.

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