I think a big reason that people don’t like (or think they don’t like) brussels sprouts, is that they only have had the mushy boiled or steamed version. All those beautiful delicate layers just meld together into a snot-like slime when you boil or steam sprouts. It is like comparing a mashed potato to a french fry, they are almost unrecognizable as the same vegetable.
When you look cook sprouts correctly you can give those individual layers a wonderful crisp texture along with a nutty roasted flavor. You can achieve this crispiness in a few different ways, including deep and pan frying them. However, those techniques tend to be slightly more labor intense and/or involve a lot of oil which isn’t the healthiest of preparation methods.
So today I am sharing with you my trick for getting brussels sprouts crispy by baking them in the oven. This isn’t necessarily a recipe, since you aren’t adding anything more than salt and pepper to them, but the technique can be used for almost any recipe.
First, you need to remove the outer layers, and cut them into halves or quarters. Then spread them out on a lined cookie sheet. I always use a silpat silicone baking mat, but you could use parchment as well. Make sure they are spread evenly and TOUCH EACH OTHER AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. You don’t want them to ‘steam’ each other.. or you will end up with soggy, squishy sprouts.
Next, you need to drizzle them with a few tablespoons of oil. In this case I used Walnut Oil because it gives me the best nutty flavor. You could also use olive, corn or canola oil. And just like in my experiment making Kale chips with different types of oil, you could also even use Pam cooking spray if you were really worried about calories.
Toss the sprouts in the oil until they are completely covered and then season with a little salt and pepper. Remember the salt will draw out some of the moisture during cooking, so don’t over-salt them before cooking. If you want to have more flavor/saltiness, you should add additional salt at then end, when they have completed baking.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until they are golden brown. Flip them over and allow the opposite side to crisp up for approximately 5 more minutes.
If you are going to add a glaze or toss them with balsamic vinegar, make sure to do it right before serving. The moisture will make the sprouts lose their crispiness.
The other alternative is to make a dip or aioli for the sprouts. Blue cheese dip, garlic aioli or even ranch dressing would be great with these little guys. For this meal I served the sprouts with an herb crusted pork chop and some pasta salad which are all 'kid-friendly’ in our house.
And the true test comes when I serve them to your kids, including baby pickles:
So if you have never had brussels sprouts that you liked, give oven roasting a try.. it may just change your mind.
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