Last week when I was in Utah, I kept joking that Louisiana winters have made me soft–it was burn-your-face-off cold and windy. But really, while I was gone, it was still pretty darn cold here, too–when I finally made it back, I had the most incredibly gorgeous 1 1/2-hour drive home from the airport where it was clear and cold and the trees, especially the ones in the swamps, were all covered in ice. When I got out of the car at home, it was totally silent except for the icy branches clinking together and it was so magically melancholy because I knew the ice would melt and it would probably be soggy and brown the next day. Which it was.
I know, I know, this post is about Brussels sprouts and I’m yammering on about the stupid ice storm, right? My point is…unless it’s a winter fairytale outside, winter is winter and I’m always glad to see spring around the corner. So even though it’s only February and even though it’s only been genuinely cold here since November, I’m totally ready to welcome spring. Brussels sprouts are great at this time of year because they have kind of a wild, earthy smell that make spring feel like it’s right around the corner.
Brussels sprouts have kind of a bad reputation and it’s true, they can be a little strong. But I love roasting because they come out sweeter, less bitter, and a little crispy rather than mushy. Plus, they pack an amazing nutritional punch, especially when you use a little extra-virgin olive oil.
You can roast them a la Ina Garten with just some olive oil and Kosher salt, but I love it with some balsamic vinegar and garlic (almost exactly how we do our grilled asparagus!). You’ll need 1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts (frozen sprouts aren’t great–they come out mushy and smelly), 3-4 cloves fresh garlic, some balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat your oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Rinse your sprouts.
Working one sprout at a time, cut off the tough end. At this point, you’ll probably notice some of the outer leaves begging you to pick them off. Do it. Just gently slip your fingers over the sprout and peel off anything that wants to come off. If the whole sprout is falling apart, toss it, but generally, you’ll get at least 2 leaves off of each sprout.
After you have de-uglified the sprouts, slice them each in half and place them in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together some vinegar, oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Pour it over the sprouts and toss them so they’re evenly coated.
Spread the sprouts onto the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts are tender and a little crispy. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little more vinegar and some more Kosher salt to taste. Serve immediately. Try to convince your children that they’re giants and they’re eating teeny tiny cabbages. It might work! My kids, however, were not convinced that they were giants or that they liked Brussels sprouts, but hey, I tried, right?
Oven-Roasted Balsamic Brussels Sprouts
Recipe by Our Best Bites
1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts
1 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling before serving
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
Rinse sprouts in cool water and then chop off the tough ends. Pull any straggly leaves off the sprouts and then chop each sprout in half. Place in a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, 1 1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle it over the chopped sprouts and then toss to combine. Spread the sprouts out evenly over the baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes or until the sprouts are tender-crisp.
Remove from oven, transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with the reserved tablespoon of vinegar, and sprinkle with kosher salt to taste. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.