Monday, November 23, 2009

Savoring the harvest: Popcorn Brussels sprouts

by June

Who can resist a cabbage the perfect size for a dollhouse? Not Fern and Blossom! They have loved Brussels sprouts since their first Thanksgiving. I'll never forget how they pinched the beloved little cabbages off their plates...and pinched and pinched and pinched some more. They dubbed them "little balls," and they have loved this vegetable ever since -- even without bacon being involved.

This was our first year to grow Brussels sprouts in our garden. I pinched off the tops a little too deep into September (next year I'm aiming for September 1), so the little cabbages that sprouted off our stalks aren't huge. But we find that is part of their charm. We can roast the small sprouts without cutting an X on the bottom (but if yours are bigger than, say, a Bing cherry, then do X them for even roasting).

We love the simplest preparation possible for these sprouts. We fire up the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. We trim the sprouts off the stalk, tip them into a cast-iron skillet and douse them with olive oil. We roll them around to make sure they get a good sheen. Then we pop them in for a good roasting... from fifteen minutes to twenty-five, depending on size. We like ours to come out with caramelized leaves.

On goes the Malden's sea salt.

We confess we hardly ever eat ours with a fork. We pinch them right out of the bowl and call them popcorn Brussels sprouts.

When we want something a little fancier, perhaps for Thanksgiving dinner, we roast them the same way, then toss them with walnut oil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some toasted walnuts. We've got some stalks still tucked under garden fleece out there in the cold. With any luck, more than one holiday table this season will be graced with our beloved little balls.


The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Oh how I love sprouts! I eat mine roasted too. I'm making some for Turkey day to go along with my pearl onions and tiny taters! How cool that you grew them yourself. Very impressive!

Laura at By the Bushel said...

Delicious! What yummy combinations, walnut oil... mmm how interesting. Have a wonderful day of thanksgiving, :) Laura

Wren said...

These look great! Our farmer friend grows them, but i haven't tried. At first glance I thought you were having popcorn AND brussel sprouts! I was thinking that would be an interesting combo...

Garden Girl said...

Mmmm... we do ours similarly to the recipe you linked to, without the figs but with extra garlic. Love the idea of doing them in a hot skillet in the oven and caramelising them... That's the way we like our carrots. Sprouts though... interesting... will have to try that! Thanks for sharing.

Karen Sue said...

YUM! Only 2 or 3 of us will eat them, but this way may be a winner!!

a tasteful garden said...

happy eating!! i'm harvesting my sprouts tomorrow. it'll be one of the last harvest of this year's plantings. my brussel sprouts are so tiny this year, but hopefully will be tasty. i have a mission of converting people to loving brussel sprouts. they've got a bad rap ;)
have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

sarah said...

I love brussel sprouts!
I am just coming over to wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving June. You are a neat friend, I am glad you are out there in blogland:)

JGH said...

Oh yum! Alas, I am not allowed to make anything for thanksgiving this year, my sister in law says. I really don't know what to do with myself, so last night I roasted a turkey just to make sure I have enough leftovers. Maybe I'll make these tonight!

Wendy said...

I have never been fond of brussel sprouts, but I think I could eat them prepared this way.

Which just proves, once more, that it's not the food itself, but the way it's treated once it comes into the kitchen ;).

Country Girl said...

I have always failed miserably at growing them probably for lack of knowledge :(
There is always next year, right?

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