Over Easter, The Conductor and I visited a high-end restaurant to treat ourselves to an extravagant Easter brunch buffet.
Now, you might say our first mistake was going to a buffet.
And that our second mistake was going to an Easter buffet.
But it was a high-end restaurant—and a newly opened one at that. Wouldn’t they want to impress newcomers?
Unfortunately, I can never go back. The chefs exhibited extreme ignorance, perhaps negligence (neither are acceptable), in proper preparation of the Brussels sprout. They were bitter, crunchy, and vile.
Little flashback: When The Conductor and I met, one of our very first exchanges was about food. He talked about preparing a carrot salad with coconut and raisins (mixed with mayo), which is the biggest food travesty I can imagine. I changed the subject quickly to Brussels sprouts roasted with fingerling potatoes, shallots, and pancetta, and he wrinkled his nose in disgust.
I know, I can’t believe we made it to another date. But we did. Probably because I forced him to eat my favorite Brussels sprouts dish soon thereafter, and to this day he has had to regularly admit he was wrong.
(I am not wrong about the carrot salad, though.)
Anyway, I’m here to tell you: If you don’t like Brussels sprouts, it’s because you don’t know how to prepare them. As a public service, I am clearly detailing what must happen to enjoy these little majestic veggies, along with the first dish you should attempt.
- Buy fresh Brussels sprouts.
- Cut off the stubby stem (just like you might cut off the stem of a cabbage).
- Peel off the outer layers of the sprout. (Important!)
- Cut in half.
Toss the sprouts generously with olive oil. Add small, halved potatoes (fingerling are ideal), onions or shallots, and some pancetta or diced bacon. Add kosher salt and pepper. Roast in the oven (about 450F), stirring every 15 minutes. Within 45 minutes (maybe sooner, depending on the aggressiveness of the oven and the composition of your pan), take it out. Consider adding a little butter or lemon.
What will happen to those sprouts? They will melt in your mouth, without a trace of bitterness.
If you don’t like that preparation, check Smitten Kitchen (with wonderful photos of sprouts):