I was never forced to eat brussels sprouts as a child, but was well-aware of their reputation as a torture-device employed by parents against their children. When I encountered real-life brussels sprouts in my high school cafeteria, I found that they lived up to their bad reputation.
It was only a few years ago that I gave brussels sprouts a second try. My little sister had found a simple, yet tasty, recipe from Alton Brown and I fell in love with the crisp-tender sprouts. I quickly forgot why I had disliked brussels sprouts in the first place, and began to buy fresh sprouts regularly at Costco.
When my husband and I encountered a sale on frozen brussels sprouts at a grocery store, we were enticed by the promise of convenient freezer storage and decided to give it a try. The end result was sad and mushy, reviving bad memories of high school-cafeteria brussels sprouts.
According to Wikipedia: “About 80% to 85% of US production is for the frozen food market, with the remainder for fresh consumption.” With that many mushy sprouts in circulation, it’s no wonder that brussels sprouts have been inducing trauma in American children for decades. Presumably, steaming or boiling fresh brussels sprouts has a similar effect.
Our friend Wikipedia counsels that: “Raw Brussels sprouts contain excellent levels of vitamin C and vitamin K, with more moderate amounts of B vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B6.” So, before you relegate brussels sprouts to the realm of the inedible, I encourage you to try this recipe! If pecans and cranberries don’t appeal to you, then try a simple sauté with butter, salt, and pepper.
Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Cranberries
Inspired by Alton Brown of The Food Network
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, rinsed and trimmed
3 ounces coarsely chopped pecans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or sub olive oil)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 ounces coarsely chopped dried cranberries
Slice the Brussels sprouts using the thinnest slicing disk of a food processor or mandoline.
In a pan over medium-high heat, toast pecans about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Nuts should be fragrant and slightly darkened.
Add butter, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine.
Continue cooking and stirring for about 6 minutes until cooked to desired texture.
Remove the pan from the heat, add cranberries, toss and serve.