Pies, pies, pies. So many pies this month. That’s okay. It is a month for feasting festivities. Still, I figured I’d counterbalance the caloric overload with a beautiful veggie dish. (Yes mom! I used beautiful to describe a vegetable – and a green one at that!)
Browse around this blog and you’ll see we’re no strangers to veggie based recipes. We even made it through a 21-day vegan challenge with ease last year. However, when I was a kid, veggies were not welcome on my plate, at least not by choice. I hated them. Well, all of them except corn. Fortunately, I grew out of that, but unfortunately for my mom, it wasn’t until I was in my 20’s and not living at home anymore.
We had a veggie on the table every night growing up, everything from green beans and peas to carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. My two least favorites though were easily beets and brussel sprouts. Well, either my tastes have undergone a dramatic transition, or pigs are flying somewhere, because this year I’ve been eating both – and loving them!
Remember the roasted beets with whipped goat cheese served with arugula, candied walnuts and a balsamic glaze from Chicago Gourmet? So good!
I also eat them regularly at our local Indian restaurant where they’re served shredded and fried. And I ate them at the farmy when Celi prepared them with garden greens, walnuts and balsamic. Delicious. I’m still leery of most beet recipes, but I’m definitely encouraged. Maybe you do have to try something 21 times before you can rule it out.
That brings us to brussel sprouts. I’ve probably tried these less times than beets over the course of my life. Mom eventually gave up on making me try them and I’ve not touched them often since. Until a few weeks ago that is. I was out to lunch with friends and ordered a Cuban sandwich. My go-to lunchtime sandwich. The dish came with fries, but I glanced down at the sides to see if I could substitute the fries for sweet potato fries. The sweet potato fries were an option, but what caught my eye was the crispy brussel sprouts.
Now I have no idea what possessed me, but I ordered them. I mean this is really out of character for me. And do you know what? I loved them! They were roasted, charred and sprinkled with parmesan. They even out-shined the Cuban. But perhaps the most amazing thing is, I have craved them ever since. Truly craved them. So here is my take on a crispy brussel sprout dish.
I can honestly say this is the first time in my life I have ever purchased brussel sprouts. I even had to read up on how to clean and cut them. Fortunately it’s easy. Rinse them with water, slice the base and remove the outer leaves.
I sliced ours in half for roasting and combined them with a few whole garlic cloves. I then tossed these in a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and salt and pepper, roasting them for about eight or 10 minutes.
In the meantime, I preheated the oven to 400F and minced a few more cloves of garlic. Once the sprouts were browned on both sides, I mixed in the minced garlic and drizzled a bit more olive oil over the top before placing the skillet directly in the oven.
I roasted our sprouts in the oven for another 25 minutes, until they were done to my liking. This couldn’t have been easier. The best part about this little veggie adventure was when everyone arrived home. Mr. N was first. He walked in and said, “Wow! Something smells great. Is that dinner?” Then Mike and Miss A arrived home and also said, “Dinner smells great! What are we having?”
Miss A was dismayed when she learned it was brussel sprouts. Despite the enticing aroma, she wasn’t buying it. Mr. N, however, said, “Huh. Well, they smell good. Can I try one?”
We served our roasted brussel sprouts with a farro, apple and cauliflower salad. It was probably one of my favorite meals this month! The brussel sprouts had a slight sweetness from roasting, were full of garlicky goodness and satisfyingly crispy. I could eat these as a meal. A glass of Sauvignon Blanc or a Dry Riesling alongside a bowl of crispy garlic brussel sprouts and I’d be in heaven!
Mike and Mr. N gave them 3 spoons. Mr. N said he’d eat these anytime, but agreed with Mike, they are a vegetable, a good vegetable in fact, but not 4 spoons. These boys are tough critics (partly why the all-around 4 spoon vote is impressive in this house). My rationale differed from theirs. The fact that these are a vegetable that I went from loathing to loving, made them a definite 4 spooner for me. Miss A, was not as impressed. She thought they smelled great, but didn’t taste very good. Still she didn’t give them a 0 or a 1, but came in at a 2 spoon vote. That’s at least promising. At her age, I would have been at a 0 for sure.
It’s definitely odd how our tastes can change over time. I eat so differently than I did as a child. In fact, far different than I ate even 10 years ago. Whatever the reason, I’m not complaining. It’s hard to complain with so much deliciousness to explore. I wonder how different my tastes will be in another 10 years. Or in another year – these next months will certainly be a food adventure! And I definitely wonder how the kids’ tastes will develop over time. We’ve already seen Mr. N go from picky eater to an adventurous experimenter. Only time will tell. Hopefully you’ll follow along for the discoveries.
Print this recipe: Crispy Brussel Sprouts
Until then, we’ll be getting back to our pies and a tasty little liqueur as we gear up for the holidays! Cheers.
P.S. Some bacon and/or parmesan added to this recipe would also be amazing! I’ll definitely be experimenting with this recipe.