Until a couple of years ago, I placed myself firmly and emphatically in the Brussels Haters Club. The sprout, not the city (although really, those Brussels Belgians give Parisians a run for their money in the pissy department). But then, on a whim, I tried the maple-glazed Brussels sprout salad from Kiss My Spatula, and my Brussels-hating days were promptly kaput. (Let’s all pause here for a brief moment of silence in honor of one of my favorite food blogs, Kiss My Spatula. May it rest in internet peace.)
Since that fateful day of candied Brussels sprouts joy, I’ve made that very salad many, many times. And converted many a fellow Brussels Hater to boot. But I can’t say that I became a Brussels Lover: you know, that person who constantly raves about how wonderful Brussels are in a misguided attempt to convince those of us who just know that they are basically the food world’s equivalent of a rank gym locker. The upshot is, these days I buy a lot of Brussels sprouts in season, but they all end up in that maple-glazed salad (not a bad way to go, I assure you). But the Brussels Lovers will not stop going on (and on) about how roasting Brussels sprouts magically changes them from smelly feet to little green balls of candy. (I know: I was skeptical too.) So I finally got around to giving roasted sprouts a try.
First things first: I jazzed them up a bit. Flaky salt, a good Kalamata olive oil, Aleppo pepper, and preserved lemon. Then, I jacked up the heat a bit, so they would brown nicely but retain some good crunch. (Because mushy vegetables = The Devil.) Lastly, I finished them over high heat on the stove top, for just a bit more brown & crispy goodness, and a spritz of Meyer lemon juice to tie it all together. And the verdict? Well, they were good. Quite good, in fact: crisp-tender, heartier than a salad and with the vibrant punch of salty lemon and chile. Just what the doctor ordered on this yet-another-snowstorm-approaching chilly Sunday. But I’m not sure I’ll be inducted into the Brussels Lover camp anytime soon. I think Brussels and I might just be good friends.
Adapted from Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Elise at Simply Recipes
- 1 lb brussels sprouts, stems trimmed and any yellowing outer leaves discarded, sliced in half lengthwise
- 2 – 3 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ of a preserved lemon, pulp removed and unrinsed, finely chopped
- large pinch or two of flaky sea salt
- large pinch of dried Aleppo pepper flakes
- 1 small lemon (I used Meyer)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a roomy cast iron skillet, toss the sprouts with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper. Roast until edges are browning but sprouts are still crisp-tender, about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time. Squeeze half the lemon over the sprouts; toss, taste and adjust salt & aleppo. If you’d like a bit more charring, toss sprouts over high heat on the stove top for a minute or two; deglaze with lemon juice. Serve immediately.
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side.
- Since I like my sprouts to retain some crunch, I roast these quickly at high heat. If you prefer a softer, mellow sprout, reduce heat to 350 F and roast for 30 minutes or longer.
- You need a generous amount of salt with these: bear in mind that preserved lemon is already salty, but the sprouts need a good amount of salt too. Don’t be shy with the salt or the aleppo.
- Should the balance of sweet-sour be a bit off, drizzle with the tiniest amount of honey when you finish the sprouts with lemon juice. Taste and adjust.
Best eaten fresh, but can be refrigerated and reheated on the stove top in a skillet.
Fall through winter.