I've spent my entire life loathing brussels sprouts. Every five years or so, I try a new recipe that someone 'highly recommended' but to no avail. They always end up bitter, soggy and too damned cabbagy. The Man and I would swallow down one, maybe two and our severe dislike would be reaffirmed and shelved for another five years. I've been giving away the brussels sprouts that have been coming in our weekly produce delivery all month....but then a couple of things happened. First, I kept hearing references to Paul Qui's brussels sprouts recipe at Uchiko. I was captivated by his talents through the entire season of Top Chef, and was intrigued that so many of my friends, self-declared brussels sprouts haters, seemed to be swayed by the relative simplicity of the recipe at Uchiko. Then, when we were in North Carolina, we were served a dish of hot, roasted brussels sprouts at my brother-in-law's house. Our hostess that night, Erica, guided us to seek out the little crispy bits around the edges of the sprouts. "That's the good stuff, right there...you don't know what you're missing!" My interest was piqued, and I sought out a crispy-leaved sprout and popped it in my mouth. I was converted that very second. Didn't even take a moment to consider or think it over. It was done. I am a brussels sprouts lover. A brussels sprouts craver even. I've realized that like most things, I just needed to leave them alone a bit and let them do their thing. The simpler the treatment, the yummier the results. A little salt, pepper and enough slow heat to caramalize the edges of the sprouts is really all you need. I've made them three times since we've been back, and I think I'll make them again tonight for with dinner. I have a lifetime of sprout hate to make up for.
Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts
(Adapted from watching Erica in the kitchen)
Preheat oven to 385 degrees
Trim the brussels sprouts and remove any yellow, damaged or discolored leaves.
Toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper
Place in a baking dish in a single layer
Bake for 30-45 minutes, removing from the oven every 10 minutes or so to turn the sprouts for even roasting. This can be achieved by simply shaking the baking dish. When they're ready the outermost leaves should be crispy and the sprouts should be tender but not mushy in the middle. Test with a knife at 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and add more salt and pepper to taste.