Yummy Brussels Sprouts 

Robert Harris
Version Date: November 30, 2012

So you think Brussels sprouts are nasty, bitter, and repellant, but your cruel parents made you eat them when you were little, just to prove to you that good things sometimes come in the disguise of bad things. "Eat them. They're good for you," they would say. You silently promised yourself that when you grew up, you'd never look at another Brussels sprout again. But once you prepare this recipe, you will discover how tasty they can be. And you can call up mom and dad and tell them--with a straight face--that now you really like Brussels sprouts.

So, if you're one of those people who wonder why Brussels sprouts are even sold ("Who would ever want these disgusting things in your house?"), try this recipe and you'll find another nice, healthy vegetable to add to your cook list.


Brussels sprouts ready to cook

Wash the sprouts. Cut off about an eighth of an inch at the stem end to expose clean, fresh sprout. Cut each sprout in half lengthwise and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Next, brush olive oil all over the exposed cut.
Use salt and pepper shakers to lightly season the sprouts.
Grate or finely chop the garlic and place a dab on each sprout. A dab to those of us who love garlic means a dollop about the size of a pencil eraser or the tip of your little finger--in other words, plenty.
Add a caper or two to each sprout.
Add a few purple olives to the tray, on several of the sprouts. If you're fresh out of purple olives, you can substitute green olives or Kalamata olives if you wish.

Cover the top with aluminum foil and connect it to the foil under the sprouts so that a semi-sealed compartment results.
Bake at 275 degrees for 45 minutes, then 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Feel free to experiment with times and temperatures. The key is to use enough time to infuse the seasonings and bake out the bitterness while still keeping the sprouts moist and green.
Place in a dish, serve, and enjoy.

What will make this dish extra yummy is the addition of pickled artichoke hearts. The hearts pickled in oil are preferred, since you won't need the olive oil unless you want both. But the real secret here is that tangy zip that artichoke hearts give to a dish. Put a piece of heart on each sprout half and follow the same cooking regimen as above.

Another variation is to put half a green olive on each sprout half. The saltiness of the green olive takes the place of the saltiness of the capers.

The baking, the olive oil, the garlic--one or all of these remove the bitterness from the sprouts and leave a delicious, healthy vegetable that adds variety and flair to your culinary repertoire. Many sprouts recipes I've seen recommend boiling in water, but that might be reason for the bitterness many feel toward Brussels sprouts. Besides, boiling often cleans out some of the nutrition in the vegetables.

Tips for the Inexperienced or Hurried
Yes, you can use a toaster oven to fix these little guys. Be sure to set it on Bake and not Broil. And you can use those pre-cut sheets of aluminum foil (Reynolds Wrappers or Durable Foil Wrapp-its). They are just about the right size for toaster oven trays. One sheet under and one over.

Serve With
This dish actually goes well with turkey, chicken, ham, or beef. Not a side for fish, though. If you really want to go upscale, serve these on a plate surrounding Cornish game hens.

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If you found this recipe interesting, please see the following:
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When Upscale Hot Dogs Go Wrong
Tasty Tofu Robaire

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About the author:
Robert Harris is a writer and educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience at the college and university level. RHarris at virtualsalt.com