Baby Brussels Sprouts That Will Rock Your Family’s Socks Off
If you’ve pledged to kick off 2013 with an earnest attempt to eat healthier and be kinder to your hungover liver, then Brussels Sprouts are an excellent food to include in your weekly rotation. And as luck would have it, I have developed a new, killer recipe for them.
I knew this recipe was a winner when my 2 year old twins popped them like CANDY, not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions when I’ve made them. Let me repeat that: two toddlers. Ate brussels sprouts. Enthusiastically. I’m sure I need not describe the euphoric bliss a dietitian mother feels when her children are wolfing down Brussels sprouts on their own volition, need I? If these are good enough for notoriously picky little people, then surely they’re worth your consideration, no?
This recipe calls for itty bitty baby brussels sprouts rather than the larger ones. This is for several reasons: first, baby brussels sprouts need not be trimmed or halved– they can be used whole and as-is. This saves a ton of time in preparation and makes the cute-as-a-button final product so irresistible to kids that they are virtually compelled to pop them in their mouths like a snack. Secondly, baby brussels sprouts are generally a touch less bitter than mature ones, which can render them easier to accept for Brussels Sprout neophytes young and old alike. My preparation below also calls for blanching them in boiling water before sauteeing; this additional step helps tame any potential bitterness even further and softens them up a bit to ensure they soften enough for even young eaters to comfortably contend with.
I’ve had the best luck finding baby brussels at my local farmer’s market, sold in the green quart containers pictured here. Occasionally, I’ve also snagged a mesh bag of them at my local grocery store (Whole Foods and other specialty/gourmet stores). I can’t always rely on finding them, but when I do, I grab them!
One last note before the recipe: yes– I use a nice, heaping dollop of butter. I don’t apologize for it. The sweet brown butter caramelizing the baby Brussels yields an incomparably sweet and creamy taste, and still doesn’t detract from the amazing health benefits of the star ingredient. The smoked paprika lends a layer of more wholesome, (vegetarian) smokiness than bacon, which is commonly found in Brussels Sprouts recipes with a similar flavor profile.
Recipe: Tamara’s Rockin’ Baby Brussels Sprouts (Vegetarian)
- ~1 lb baby brussels sprouts (you can use more or less as needed; just adjust seasonings to taste), washed but not trimmed
- 2 TBSP organic butter
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Parmesan cheese (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add the baby brussels to the pot. Blanch them until bright green and tender BUT NOT YET MUSHY, about 3-4 minutes.
- Drain brussels into a colander and set aside.
- Heat butter in a large non-stick wok (or stir-fry pan) until nice and bubbly hot. Add the blanched brussels to the wok and gently saute with a wooden spoon until all of them are coated. Leave them alone for a minute or so at a time to allow for browning, then occasionally stir them to promote more even browning throughout the batch. Continue this process until the brussels start to take on a nice, caramelized appearance throughout.
- Sprinkle in smoked paprika and salt to taste, stirring well to coat the batch.
- Turn off heat. Immediately shave Parmesan cheese to taste into the pan and stir to distribute it throughout the batch. It will melt.
- To serve: top each dish with another shaving of Parmesan cheese to taste. If serving to little kids, do this in front of them so they can see the parmesan “snow” falling on their sprouts. (Never underestimate the value of theatre when it comes to veggies and kids!)
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