Around this time every year I start to get depressed, not about the endless cold and darkness but about the limited produce at my grocery store. My heart sinks as I grab a cart, knowing that everything will be exactly the same as it was the week before; the most excitement I can hope for is a special price on broccoli.
But I’m tired of broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and all the other members of my cruciferous rotation. Last week, thank goodness, I took my cart on a slightly different path and realized I had somehow been missing the Brussels sprouts (they keep them next to the Chilean grapes, $3-a-pound apples, and other stuff I never buy). They are super-healthy crucifers too, of course, but roasted until their outer leaves are crisp they’re so different from my spare steamed broccoli and repetitive sautéed greens.
They lend themselves to compulsive eating, like a guilty snack but with no guilt. I’ve tried Brussels sprouts with a sweetish sauce and I’ve tried them hashed and simply sautéed, but they’re never as good as they are just plain roasted with olive oil and salt.
About the author: Robin Bellinger recently escaped a career in book publishing, which was really cutting into her cooking time. Now she is a freelance editor and can bake bread on Tuesday afternoon if she feels like it. She lives in midtown Manhattan with her husband and blogs about cooking and crafting at home*economics.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
- 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any outer leaves. Toss them in a bowl (or right on the baking sheet) to coat evenly with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Turn them onto a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes, until crisp outside and tender inside. Shake the pan from time to time for even browning. Sprinkle with more kosher salt and serve.
The last time I made these, I cut the recipe in half. I had to remove the pan from the oven after 25 minutes or so because the oil was smoking and the sprouts were already quite crisp and brown; perhaps on a baking sheet where they just fit instead of having so much room they would have taken longer? They were still perfectly delicious, but you have to keep an eye on these as they roast. Don’t check for the first time at 35 minutes (you should be shaking that pan every now and then, anyway).