Kids and adults alike are often united in their hatred of Brussels sprouts. When I was young, Brussels sprouts were at the very top of my gross foods list, just barely inching out slimy spinach and chalky lima beans. Yuck!
It was not until I got to college that I learned spinach is not really slimy. Turns out it is actually a leaf and surprisingly delicious! I didn’t realize I had been eating frozen spinach my entire life. What a relief!
Over time I learned that many foods I never liked were not as bad as I thought. I grew to appreciate fennel, avocado, cilantro and even beets, but I never could develop a taste for Brussels sprouts.
A few years ago when I started getting serious about vegetables and health, I made a decision to conquer my last few food aversions. Eggplant was something I always struggled with, but I learned that a few kitchen tricks could turn it into a delicious meal. This past summer I was finally able to embrace cucumbers.
After all this, overcoming my aversion to Brussels sprouts is my proudest accomplishment.
I have found that for most foods I do not enjoy, ordering them at an expensive San Francisco restaurant is a great place to start. These people can seriously cook. And if anyone can make something taste good, it is the brilliant chefs of San Francisco.
Absinthe Brasserie was where I first tried Brussels sprouts that I didn’t just like, I loved. So warm, savory and delicious, I finally knew what Brussels sprouts could be.
It was this experience that convinced me it was possible to find a way to cook Brussels sprouts so that I like them. I spent all last winter trying different cooking techniques until I finally got it right.
- Bacon – Is there anything bacon doesn’t make better?
- Nuts – Walnuts or hazelnuts add a crunchy texture and earthy flavor.
- Butter – I don’t cook with butter often, but sometimes it is just worth it.
- Blanching – Cutting the sprouts in half and boiling them for 5 minutes removes their bitter flavor.
- Fresh herbs – I prefer oregano or marjoram on this dish.
- Red wine vinegar – Acid is a great counter to bitterness; it serves Brussels sprouts well.
These tricks and variations of them have convinced me and nearly all of my friends that Brussels sprouts are truly an autumn delicacy.
For those of you questioning the health value of bacon and butter, my answer is this: get over it.
Small amounts of saturated fat will not kill you or even make you fat. Besides, if it gets you to eat your Brussels sprouts it is worth it. I feel confident in saying this dish is infinitely more healthy than anything you can get at Subway.
Don’t be scared, give it a try!
Do you hate Brussels sprouts? Why?