Saturday, January 28, 2012

Who Doesn't Like Brussels Sprouts

There's a persistent cultural perception that people don't like brussels sprouts, and I can't figure out where it came from. Everybody I know loves brussels sprouts. Whenever somebody brings out brussels sprouts, somebody is sure to exclaim, "I love brussels sprouts!" The only thing I can think of is that there are a few noisy assholes who don't like them and complain about them publicly, and through these outbursts they have the whole world convinced their opinion matters. They're the climate-change deniers of food. Sprouts are delicious. Only an asshole doesn't like brussels sprouts. Here are some sprouts served as contourno to a sausage ragu. The ragu was pretty standard, just some lumps of sausage and bacon cooked with shallot, garlic, apple, red pepper and tomato, then spooned over some polenta and garnished with grated parmigiano. The brussels sprouts were dressed with a vinaigrette of mustard, honey, garlic, sesame oil and sriracha on top of some big bib leaves of Italian basil. When I served it, Heather clapped her little hands together and said "Brussels sprouts! I love brussels sprouts."


  1. Spicy honey mustard sauce..never would have thought of that for sprouts. How were they cooked?

    The ragu over polenta looks lip smacking.

  2. I guess I didn't mention that I cooked them. I boiled them in salty water, but not for too long. I like them a little underdone. Sometimes I cut them into segments and sautee them in olive oil or butter.

  3. Ever try roasting them? I like to cut them in half, add a little salt, pepper, olive oil, about 30-45 minutes in the oven until they start to caramelize around the edges.

  4. My mother would just boil them in salted water and add butter with s&p. I would never eat them until she told me they were baby cabbages.

    Nowadays I usually roast them ala jimmy two hands..with whatever fresh herbs are in the garden.
    They go good on the grill too..wrappem up in some foil.

  5. I'm one of the haters. I despise those wretched little bastards. I don't enjoy the texture, even when they are a little underdone to maintain that crispness, but most of all, it's the distinctive taste. There is just something about that taste and the smell combination while in my mouth that is not only off-putting but almost gagging in its repulsiveness. Maybe childhood trauma, maybe a vicious death in a past life, or maybe they are just plain gross, but no matter, I hate the little shits.

    I'm not even going to go into the different ways of cooking them because when it comes down to it, if I can taste the brussel sprout then I don't want it. But if you smother it in bacon grease, chocolate, and hot sauce, you, essentially, are not eating brussel sprouts.

    You, sir, can have your brussel sprouts and wallow in whatever sexual fantasies you cherish with them but I will leave you to it. That does not make me an asshole, just different. You, however, are an asshole for judging everyone negatively because that person doesn't happen to enjoy the same thing as you.

    Now that ragu and polenta sounds tasty...

    1. You seem like a nice enough guy, so I'm sorry to have to break the news, but it stands that only an asshole doesn't like brussels sprouts. Sorry 'boutcha.

  6. kids don't like them, and many still hang on to their childhood memories.

  7. Hot (HOT!) cast iron skillet, duck fat. Drop in some sprout de Brussels (cut in half/quarters) till some of the leaves are black (burn to hell) and crispy.

    Plate, sprinkle with coarse salt. They taste exactly like that magic burnt crispy french fry you sometimes get at the bottom of the bag.

    *for the haters of brussels sprouts...anything thing with vinegar will take away the bitter back end taste that folks don't like. Malt vinegar is good to dump all over as is the aforementioned sriracha.

  8. I bet there's a physical or physiological explanation for the widespread distaste for brussels sprouts. When I was a kid, I couldn't stand them and didn't understand the appeal. A few years ago, my girlfriend made me brussels sprouts sauteed in bacon fat and I though they were great, though I assumed it was the bacon fat I was enjoying. Not the case. I've enjoyed them every time I've had them since.

    I'll very unscientifically postulate that the distaste for the slight bitterness of the brussel sprout is probably a good instinct for a young foraging homo sapien to have for survival reasons.

    You know who the real assholes are? People who try something once and decide they flat out don't like it.

  9. my 13yo son requested brussels sprouts for thanksgiving. this from a kid who only eats 80% ripe fruit (not 85%, he loves his pears and apples brittle and "firm"), and who detests chicken of all forms.

    I sauteed them in a hot cast-iron dutch oven with salt, pepper, garlic & lemon. yum.

  10. I think kids are the loud assholes here. I remember having gag reflexes when I had to eat them as a youngster. I love them now. Be sure not to overcook them though, they'll start spread their sulfur smell. Maybe that's also part of the negativity. Greetings from the Netherlands.


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