winter vegetables and especially, my favorite, the Brussels sprout. They’re a delicious add to any meal and, strangely, they were my childhood favorite and continue to be on my list of top five favorite vegetables. While most children at age four were screaming for chicken nuggets or pizza, I was screaming for Brussels sprouts. And, of course, Brussels sprouts are fun and visually pleasing to any plate.
Brussels sprouts are a green vegetable which grow on a very large stalk (2 to 4 feet in height!) and although they look like an immature cabbage they are in fact a breed of wild cabbage grown for its small size at maturity. Brussels sprouts are typically 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter and grow like buds in a spiral. In addition to their adorable miniature cabbage appearance, Brussels sprouts are also known for their high fiber content.
Growing up, I learned there are many ways to cook these amazing greens – some even better than mom’s simple steaming technique. For instance, when I worked at Michael’s restaurant in Santa Monica, I learned that if you shave the sprouts into shreds on a mandolins and sauté them with tiny carrots and a little white wine, they’re a perfect addition to pork tenderloin. Then, after dining at AOC (another great Los Angeles restaurant) their version is to add a touch of balsamic vinegar and to slowly reduce allowing the sweet balsamic flavor to seep into the layers of the vegetable. The sweetness of the balsamic vinegar makes them taste better than candy. And now I love Katsuya’s Brussles Sprouts they cook the leaves of the brussel sprouts and then toss them with soy sauce, almonds, green onion and a few other secret ingredients. A new twist on an old favorite.
Really, you can’t go wrong. Any way you slice, dice or cook the Brussels sprout, it’s a perfect side to almost any dish like seared pork, braised chicken or marinated beef.
How to prep them for cooking
Use a sharp knife and cut off the growing end about 1-2 centimeters from the end.
Using your fingers, remove the outer leaves and reveal the fresh, vibrant leaves that lay underneath.
Take your knife and cut the Brussels sprouts in half, quarters or shredded depending on your main focal point (protein) of the meal.
Place the cut end flat on the cutting board and use your thumb and pointer finger to grasp each side and run your knife down the middle.
Follow the directions for halves and instead of releasing the Brussels sprout, turn it clockwise a quarter turn and move your fingers to just over the last cut. Use your knife to make another cut all the way to the base.
Place the Brussels sprout whole on your cutting board. Use a sharp knife to make thin cuts all the way to the base.
Cut the end and then peel the leaves.
Place 2-3 inches of water in a saucepot and bring the water to a boil and add a few chef pinches of salt. Place a steam basket with the halved Brussels sprouts inside of the pot and steam for 8-10 minutes.
Toss halved Brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the vegetable a few times during the cooking process.
In a large sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil and add ¼ Brussels sprouts. Season with salt and pepper; get a nice brown color on multiple sides. Next, add a ½ cup of liquid (stock or water) and cover with a lid and steam for 8-10 minutes or until soft all the way through.