Learning to Embrace Brussels Sprouts

If you grew up in the Midwest, I am quite sure you dreaded coming home for Sunday lunch after Church.  Invariably, you were “treated” to the vegetable specials of overcooked Brussels sprouts and canned green beans.    I still know people who enjoy eating food prepared this way, but we are not on speaking terms.   Let’s face it,  who can blame the Russians from becoming a nation of alcoholics by trading in overcooked cabbage and borscht for a bottle of distilled potato juice?


Skip the bacon and go Balsamic Vinegar

I’ll admit that Brussels sprouts was not often found on my plate until I sampled “shaved Brussels sprouts” at Mario Batali’s Lupa restaurant in New York some years ago.   Imagine?: Raw Brussels sprouts with what I believe was a dressing of olive oil, lemon and, perhaps, some anchovy paste.  Wonderful!   Since then, I have learned that culinary culture may have arrived in the Midwest when I received a wonderful recipe from Rose Shafer for “braised Brussel sprouts.”

Our latest favorite is a recipe from Mark Bittman that was published in the New York Times:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic


  • 1 pint brussels sprouts (about a pound)
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to coat bottom of pan
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (from Gourmet Living, of course!)


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim bottom of brussels sprouts, and slice each in half top to bottom. Heat oil in cast-iron pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers; put sprouts cut side down in one layer in pan. Put in garlic, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook, undisturbed, until sprouts begin to brown on bottom, and transfer to oven. Roast, shaking pan every 5 minutes, until sprouts are quite brown and tender, about 10 to 20 minutes.
  3. Taste, and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in Gourmet Living’s balsamic vinegar of Modena, and serve hot or warm.

We trust your family enjoys them as much as ours does.