Vegetable Cooking: Brussels Sprouts

We should be eating more vegetables. So, we’re continuing our look at ways to cook vegetables for those looking for some ideas. Today’s topic is Brussels sprouts.

These mini-cabbages get their name from being heavily cultivated in the area of Northern Europe now called Belgium. They prefer cooler weather, but not cold. Like their culinary cousins, broccoli, kale, cabbage and collard greens, this vegetable is packed with nutrients, especially those that help fight colon cancer.

When shopping for brussels sprouts, look for tight, firm deep green heads that are still on the stalk. There should be no yellow leaves or signs of insect activity.

Prepare these by removing the outer leaves and trimming the stems before washing thoroughly.

The only method of cooking not recommended by nutritionists is boiling, which removes a lot of those valuable nutrients. But most other methods can perhaps change your mind about these vegetables that lots of people, including me, don’t like.

Braising in some white wine can be a flavorful way to fix these. Use a shallow pan with a cover. They’re usually done in about seven minutes over medium-high heat. Remove the sprouts with a slotted spoon, turn up the heat and add a teaspoon of butter or olive oil. Reduce the sauce into a glaze which you then pour over the sprouts.

Like other vegetables in this family, they like the microwave. Put in a glass dish with about a 1/4 cup of broth or water and cover tightly. Heat on high until tender, about six minutes.

Roasting can be one method that adds a lot of flavor. Cut the sprouts in half and arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet or baking dish. Toss with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and pop into a 500° oven for about 20 minutes. Turn them over halfway through the cooking time. They should come out browned and tender.

Of course, sprouts can also be steamed in the same way you do other green vegetables. They take about six minutes.