I’ve learned that there are some things that divide people in the food world. Beets are one of them (which I can’t seem to wrap my head around). Another is cilantro (Eric tells people he’s “allergic”). And the other is Brussels sprouts.
Growing up, I heard how terrible they were. My parents relayed horror stories of how they were served boiled Brussels sprouts as children and how they vowed after that never to eat them again.
It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I tried my first brussel sprout. I was out to dinner with some friends and ordered the salmon. What I neglected to pay attention to was what came with the dish. When I saw the little guys sitting next to the fish, I thought, “Why would they serve these? Everyone HATES them?” Reluctantly, I stabbed one with my fork, closed my eyes, and popped it in. And from that moment on, I was hooked.
Now, since that time, I’ve consumed my share of poorly cooked Brussels sprouts. But for those naysayers out there, let me tell you this: almost anything will taste good when it is prepared properly. Just because you’ve eaten something one way, doesn’t mean you won’t like it cooked differently.
In fact, the most flavor comes out when they are roasted or sauteed in a pan. Getting them to brown slightly brings out even more of their natural caramel flavor and, I promise, you can make a lover out of the most skeptical person.
Brussels Sprouts with Canellini Beans and Almonds
(serves 6 as side a side dish)
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
15 oz can of canellini beans, drained, rinsed, and dried
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
1 shallot, sliced into rings
salt and pepper, to taste
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the pan and set the burner to medium-high heat. Wait for oil to heat up and then add the Brussels sprouts. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper, enough for the flavors to come out. Let them cook, stirring occasionally, until they have browned slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to let cool a little.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add shallot and whisk again.
Move Brussels sprouts to a serving bowl. Add cannelini beans and pour the dressing on top. Mix to make sure everything has been coated evenly. Top with almond slivers and serve.