I am proud to say that since Dave and I have been dating, his palate has become more sophisticated. He is pretty adventurous when it comes to food, (he even tried pig tail once!), but until recently held on to some childhood food aversions. Like asparagus (too mushy), cole slaw (too creamy) and Brussels sprouts (again, too mushy). I feel like it is a common stereotype that all kids hate Brussels sprouts. But I would hope as they mature, so do their taste buds, and they come to appreciate all a Brussels sprout has to offer. I asked Dave to consider trying them again after 20 years, and surprisingly, I didn’t have to twist his arm too much. Now he is a Brussels sprout lover! Look at that!
So I was excited when I saw a Brussels sprout recipe in the latest issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. Let me clarify, I am a huge fan of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated. I have an online subscription and a magazine subscription. I am even a “Friend of Cook’s Illustrated”, testing recipes currently under development. I don’t think it gets more zealous than that.
Dave’s Aunt Kathy, who is a chef and owns her own cooking school, In The Kitchen, in Haddonfield, NJ, first showed Dave how to roast broccoli with just olive oil, salt and pepper. This method consistently produces perfectly roasted vegetables, including Brussels sprouts.
So why not test Aunt Kathy’s way vs. the Cook’s Illustrated method? The recipes were slightly different and I wanted to see if the results would be the same. Cook’s Illustrated basically steamed the sprouts in the oven for 10 minutes by covering the baking sheet with aluminum foil. The foil was then removed before roasting for another 10 minutes. I was so disappointed by the outcome. My all-knowing ATK turned out a mushier version (what they described as “tender”) of Aunt Kathy’s.ATK’s is on the left, Aunt Kathy’s on the right. Can you see the difference?
Conclusion: Even the most knowledgeable of people, aren’t always right.
Winner: Aunt Kathy’s Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts, ends cut off, whole or halved
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Slather and toss Brussels sprouts in olive oil, til every inch is glistening, in either a bowl or on a baking sheet. Transfer to baking sheet, if not already using one. Season with black pepper.
2. Roast in oven for 12 minutes, shaking the pan half way through cook time.
3. Brussels sprouts should be bright green, bottoms caramelized, with some burnt leaves. Season with sea salt to taste, and serve.