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Brussels sprouts are not a nose-turner

January 29th 02:01pm, 2009

Any home cook who’s entertained has worried whether the menu would please all the guests. Just so this past weekend, when I served Brussels sprouts as part of a multicourse vegetarian meal.

Winter squash was part of the theme. Butternut and acorn squashes appeared in a chestnut soup garnished with sautéed chestnuts and mushrooms in a white-wine reduction, and again in ricotta-and-tofu-stuffed shells baked in a pumpkin sauce. What to serve alongside those hearty shells? Green beans amandine? Steamed broccoli? Brussels sprouts, with their slight bitterness and cruciferous crunch, contrast perfectly with squash’s smoothness and hint of sweetness; the orange-green color palette would be especially brightening on a drab, wintry evening. I’d roast them with a splash of balsamic and a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. I opted, with great hesitancy, to go for it, hoping that my guests would not have childhood flashbacks of eating soggy sprouts and make an early exit.

Au contraire
. I instead received remarks like, “I just love Brussels sprouts!”

Maybe more cooks and chefs will take a chance and put Brussels sprouts on the menu. (No mush, mind you.) They might be surprised to find that people actually eat them. I know I was.

Ligaya Figueras

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2 Responses to “Brussels sprouts are not a nose-turner”

  1. Mizzus Kitty Says:
    January 29th, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Brussels sprouts are so underrated. I have served them half apologetically. Bleu Restaurant in Columbia, Mo serves them quick sauteed with thick small pieces of BACON! I have a recipe involving cream, onions,bacon and swiss cheese that we have every Thanksgiving that is baked longer term and they are great too. Someone from my sister’s side of the family told me this year “I woke up thinking about your Brussels sprouts this morning”

  2. Deborah Says:
    February 8th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I roast an oven full of veggies almost every week. And second only to fennel, brussels sprouts are my favorite.
    Toss them in good olive oil with herbs of your choice. Serve them at room temperature or even cold. Better than candy.

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