I thought I'd share my all-time favorite brussels sprouts recipe with you. It's a slightly extended version of the one I included in Super Natural Cooking, but to be honest, calling it a recipe is a bit of a stretch. It involves a skillet, less than five ingredients, about ten minutes of your time, and minimal culinary skills. You end up with vibrant green, tender brussels sprouts that become deeply golden and crusty where they touch the pan. I then lightly dust them with cheese and serve. This time of year it's not unusual for us to cook them like this two or three times a week.
Even if you're a sprout skeptic, this golden-crusted version has the ability to turn the most vigilant brussels sprout loathers around.
Buying the Best Brussels Sprouts
A couple shopping tips before you get started, look for brussels sprouts that are on the small size and tightly closed. The tiny ones cook through quickly, whereas larger ones tend to brown on the outside long before the insides are done. When the weather is mild, I finish them with a lighter, salty cheese, like Parmesan. If it's stormy and cold, I opt for a heavier, more melty cheese, like a regular or smoked Gouda (or gruyere). Or(!), I'll skip the cheese altogether, and add a simple finishing shower of chopped nuts.
Cooking Brussels Sprouts:
A couple quick pro-tips. Try not to overcook the sprouts, and eat them as soon as they come of the stove if at all possible. They're so great this way!
Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts Recipe
This is a great way to eat brussels sprouts: cut in half and cooked until deliciously tender inside and perfectly brown and crusted on the outside. Use brussels sprouts that are on the small size and tightly closed. You can finish these with many different types of cheese but I tend to go for Parmesan when the weather is good. I trade that in for heavier cheeses like gruyere or Gouda in colder weather. I finished them off with some toasted hazelnuts the other night - delicious!
- 1 pound of small brussels sprouts
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated cheese or chopped nuts - your choice!
Wash the brussels sprouts well. Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves. Cut in half from stem to top and toss in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Don't overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down (single-layer), sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, cover, and cook for roughly 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they're tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.
Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized. Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side. Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a dusting of grated cheese (or nuts). While you might be able to get away with keeping a platter of these warm in the oven for a few minutes, they are exponentially tastier if popped in your mouth immediately.