I spent my entire life hating brussels sprouts. After all, I had them once in middle school, and they were boiled and bitter, so that pretty much sealed the classification “inedible” in my mind. However, last year I had someone ask me how many middle school opinions I still hold onto (ouch!) – so I reluctantly decided to revisit the brussels sprout decision.
I waded into the waters slowly, first trying them during Thanksgiving when “Aunt Patty” (not my aunt, but close!) made brussels sprouts for dinner. They were quite tasty. That weekend was the first time I had seen sprouts on their stalk. For some reason, seeing these little nuggets on their stalk made them seem friendly and fun. Fun? Yup – that’s where my mind went. (Of course, Billy’s task that Thanksgiving was to remove each sprout from the stalk, so he might use a different adjective!)
There was a little earthquake in my world; suddenly I found these little green globes tasty AND fun – well, I could hardly resist learning to make them myself. It turns out my favorite way to prepare them is by roasting them in a very hot oven. However, it took me a little bit of experimenting before I got it down, so here are the results in case you want to rethink your middle school judgment of brussels sprouts.
Not much on the ingredient list:
- Brussels sprouts (in a bag or on a stalk)
- Olive oil
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Pepper
- ½ tsp sugar. (Don’t skip the sugar – it’s the secret ingredient!!)
- Lemon –squeeze over the top at the end, but that’s completely optional!
The trick is in the preparation, so follow along and you’ll be in for deliciousness!!
Place the cookie sheet in the oven and preheat WITH THE COOKIE SHEET IN THE OVEN to 450.
While the oven heats, clean and chop the sprouts in half. If I’m using the kind from a bag, I usually cut a little bit of the base off just to get to a fresh end (like it’s a Christmas tree!). This means that some of the outer leaves come off – which is fine.
Toss the halves (and the little leaves that have come off) with olive oil, salt & pepper to taste and about ½ tsp sugar. Don’t let the “to taste” thing throw you. Err on the side of going light with the salt and heavy with the pepper. You can adjust the seasonings at the end. The sugar helps the brussels sprouts from getting bitter during the roasting process so don’t skip!
When the oven is (finally) done heating, remove the cookie sheet and put the sprouts on the sheet so that the flat sides are down and their little rounded backs are up. You have to work quickly so that you don’t lose the heat on the sheet. I turn them all over with my fingers – the tongs just aren’t fast enough.
Roast for 10-12 minutes – or until they are the golden brown that you like!
If you have a lemon around, squeeze a little on top (no more than one half of a small lemon) for some extra flare. Adjust the seasoning to your liking. Serve & Enjoy!