The thick stalk is encircled with the green, tightly leafed Brussels sprouts. Dozens of them grow from it, from the crowded top to the more spacious bottom end, where the stalk was whacked away from its roots.
How Brussels sprouts grow is something that’s long fascinated me. Who first wandered by a stalk and thought “those little growths sure look tasty!” anyway? I’d really like to thank them. They started something that led to my favorite vegetable.
Of course, it wasn’t always that way. When I was a young girl, and my grandmother would buy little white and green tubs of Brussels sprouts topped with crackling cellophane, I didn’t touch them. Since my mother didn’t eat them, and the scent of boiling Brussels sprouts isn’t for the weary, I never tried them.
I was an adult when I finally had them, and promptly fell head over heels in love — As long as they haven’t been tainted by the horrifying impacts of boiling water, that is. Boiled Brussels sprouts just aren’t the same.
No, I much prefer them roasted or sauteed. This brings out their nuanced flavors — nutty, slightly sweet and a bit earthy. It’s lovely.
In this super simple and easy recipe, Brussels sprouts are dressed with a little oil and balsamic vinegar, along with salt and pepper to enhance their flavor, and then roasted to crisp-tender. It’s a perfect side dish for fall dinners.
If you’re using ones from a stalk, just twist and pull to separate them from the stalk. Then proceed with the recipe. It’s super easy.
Hint: Looking for Brussels sprouts on the stalk? New Beat Farm, which has stands at the Belfast and Orono farmers markets, tells me they’ll have them for a few more weeks. So hit the farmers market!
- 3 cups fresh Brussels sprouts
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Remove the ends of the Brussels sprouts and any bruised outer leaves. Halve the sprouts and place in a large bowl. Add olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Pour the Brussels sprouts onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Be careful not to crowd them.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring once, about halfway through. They should be browned at the edges and crisp tender when done.