Brussel Sprouts

I am a serious proponent of eating in season. Do yourself a favor and venture to the farmers market or grocery store to see what is available. Right now we have a bevy of wonderful fruits and vegetables to mix into our respective regimens. The list is quite robust and boasts some of my favorites including artichokes, asparagus, beets, Belgian endive, chives, cherries, corn, fava beans, fennel, grapefruit, leeks, morel mushrooms, mustard greens, spinach, spring onions, Swiss chard, pea pods, Vidalia onions and watercress. Watercress is a delicious, spicy green that I add to salads to pack a unique punch. You can put it on sandwiches too. I adore cherry season though find I am always shocked when my bag costs more than expected. I like to snack on cherries en route home from the grocer. My beloved beets. I am serving them at most meals these days. They are so simple to prepare. Roast a bunch on a Sunday, tenderly peel, chop and put them in the fridge. They will add color and nutrition to your grub throughout the week.

In addition to seasonal goodies, there are some goods that are available year round. I like to integrate them into rotation as well. My very favorite for such a venture is Brussel sprouts. Packed with Vitamin A, C and Potassium, they are excellent for one’s health. Growing up, I loathed Brussel sprouts. Perhaps we ate them steamed and the texture did not agree with me. Not a clue. Conceivably, maturity and a broader palette have both finally caught up with me. A few years back, while still living in New York City, my brother was on a health regimen and told me he roasted his with olive oil. This basic method served as inspiration that has shaped many a meals in our home. Honestly, when in doubt, I serve Brussel sprouts. Fantastically simple to prepare, they love to be roasted, sautéed, grilled, braised and even eaten raw. 

Last spring, I made a dynamite salad composed of shredded Brussel sprouts, carrots, apples, toasted hazelnuts, chopped herbs and apricots. I finished it off with a dressing of flaxseed oil, maple syrup and lemon juice. When roasting Brussel sprouts, the sky is the limit in terms of what you add to the mix. I usually go for a bit of olive oil and that’s it. Sometimes, if feeling inspired, we add fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary. You can also add nuts to your liking such as pecans, walnuts or slivered almonds. Toasted breadcrumbs are also scrumptious. Something sweet is always a welcomed addition including grapes, prunes, raisins, pomegranate seeds or cranberries. It should be noted that apples play an outstanding supporting cast too. Maple syrup always pleases the taste buds too. Savory additions like soy sauce and fish sauce will transform your sprouts. When sautéing Brussel sprouts, do yourself a favor and add bacon or pancetta to the pan. The pork will render fat that serves as a wonderful agent for not only cooking but adding flavor to your balls of greens. If you want to be naughty, drop in a dab of butter. A splash of vinegar, balsamic or apple cider, finishes things off nicely. 

I prepared these to accompany the steaks we enjoyed in Boca Raton with the extended family on Friday night. We also whipped up the carrot ginger dressing to throw on a big salad. We used dark miso and the result was sublime. Some new potatoes with fresh mint and lemon asparagus found their ways into the mix and we were in business. And, what do you know? While there were leftovers, not a single sprout was left come dinner's end.

Surefire Pleaser Brussel Sprouts
Adapted from Bon Appetit


2 slices of bacon – organic please
1 bag of Brussel sprouts (around 1 lb)
½ cup chicken stock
1 shallot – chopped
½ cup of golden raisins
1 TBS butter
2 TBS apple cider vinegar – we like Bragg’s
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Kosher salt

Heat Your Pan

1. In a pan, fry the bacon on medium high heat. Once finished, let it cool and crumble. Set aside.

2. Throw in your Brussel sprouts and give a stir to coat them with the bacon fat. Please cook for approximately ten minutes. In this time, they should begin to turn a lovely golden hue.

3. Turn the heat down to low and add the butter, raisins and shallots. Give everything a generous stir. Let it all cook for around five minutes or until the shallots are soft.

4. Now add your stock to the mix. Turn the heat up high to boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down and let it simmer. You want to cook the Brussel sprouts until all the liquid has disappeared. This should take around five minutes.

5. Add your apple cider vinegar to the pan along with the crumbled bacon. Season to taste with kosher salt and the red pepper flakes. Serve, step back and wait for your dining room table to erupt in cheering.

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