In food matters, as in life, it´s easy to let go of our bias, even if they are based on previous experiences. If we don´t like something, or think we won´t like it, chances are we won´t go anywhere near it.
Thus, brussels sprouts and me were worlds apart until only very recently. You see, I remember the not-so-friendly odor emanating from brussel sprouts cooking in the microwave. It was baaaaaaad, I really don´t want to recreate the smell here because I don´t want to ruin your appetite. Needless to say, I tried it once and hated it, and the smell that kept emanating from brussel sprouts every time my mom cooked them only reinforced my ideas.
But, fortunately, thanks to food bloggers (I´m looking at Deb and Molly here) presenting delectable recipes using my nemesis, I began to reconsider. Besides, it was my duty as a food blogger to widen my food universe.
Well, I was wrong, oh so wrong, oh mighty brussel sprouts, how I offended thee!
You see, there´s no need to steam or boil them, you can just cut them and sauté them in a pan (or bake them in the oven if you are making a big batch). I use lemon juice so any sort of bitterness that might exist disappears, garlic, a bit of panceta and a touch of parmesan (yes, I do always use parmesan, it´s not my fault if it makes everything taste better!)
Now, for all you naysayers, give them a try, I swear they don´t taste like what you think brussel sprouts taste like! They caramelize slightly and marry the other flavors beautifully. Plus, it takes me 20 minutes since I come from the farmers market to have this at the table.
I do realize fresh brussel sprouts might be hard to come by at this time of the year for those of you in the Northern hemisphere. But, you can keep this in mind come next fall, AND I have to endure seeing wonderful cherries and beautiful rhubarb all around, so this time, the joke´s on you! hahaha I know that no one envies my fresh brussel sprouts, but I´m working with what I´ve got, people.
And for other first-time-trying-ingredients news, I made this cute brie sampler with grilled pears and arugula pesto to see if I liked brie, and I have to say I do! Not overly ripe though because I don´t get along with blue cheese.
(“recipe” after the jump)
Grilled brussel sprouts with lemon and panceta
Brussel sprouts, 1 pound (500 g)
Garlic, 4 small cloves
Juice of 1 lemon
Panceta, 25 grams (just a bit, or a lot if you like)
Vegetable oil, 2 tablespoons
Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons
Yields 2 servings as a main course and 4-6 servings as a side dish.
1. Cut the brussel sprouts in half if they are quite small and in quarters if they are bigger and wash them thoroughly (the idea here is to have them all be about the same size and for them to cook in 10-15 minutes.)
2. Heat up a pan, add the oil. Cut the panceta and fry it in the oil. Add the minced garlic about 30 seconds before adding the brussel sprouts so it doesn´t get burnt.
3. Add the brussel sprouts to the mix (it doesn´t matter if it has a bit of water inside). Pour the lemon juice over it. Cover with a lid for 5 minutes. Mix everything and add a touch of water if you see they are browning a bit too much. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, test for doneness.
4. When the brussel sprouts are done, add the parmessan, mix and serve.
Other options: it also works well with spring onions added along with the parmessan, or chives.