It’s funny how some foods are portrayed in pop culture. Spinach will make you strong, like Popeye. Thanksgiving turkey is always cut on the table. Cakes are always dripping with pink icing and a cherry on top, which is a look I’ve rarely (if ever) seen on an actual cake. Broccoli is frowned upon by kids who eat it only when forced to do so by their parents.
And Brussels sprouts? I grew up knowing, from some ubiquitous source I can’t identify, that Brussels sprouts were just the worst. A vegetable that no one enjoyed. This seeming fact was so ingrained that for years, I avoided them.
Oof. SO much time wasted.
Fortunately, like sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts have been rescued from the soggy casseroles of old that may have contributed to their bad rap and have been resurrected as trendy, tasty sides and appetizers at millennial-bait restaurants around the country. And I couldn’t be happier! After a few tremendous restaurant experiences, I began to notice these green little balls of goodness everywhere and can rarely resist tossing a pound or two into my grocery bag.
Now there are lots of ways to prepare sprouts, and I’m sure that as my relationship with them progresses, I’ll expand my repertoire to include more interesting methods. But for now, I’m still obsessed with them seasoned simply and roasted to crispy, brown perfection.
With only olive oil, salt, pepper, and half an hour in a hot oven, these little vegetables hold their own against chips, popcorn, and French fries.
Now be careful: I’ve burned the ever-loving crap out of sprouts more times that I haven’t. Check them frequently after the 20-minute mark, they can go from a pale gold to smokin’ black in no time.
But if you do succeed, you’re in for a treat! These are great as an appetizer, side dish, or if we’re being perfectly honest, as an after-dinner movie snack that some of us may or may not eat with our fingers like popcorn.
Crispy Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Adapted from Ina Garten
Serves 2-4 (Remember, these will cook down A LOT in size. You may feel overwhelmed by their bulk when you first put them in the oven, but I urge you not to skimp.)
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
2 T olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher or flaky sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut off the ends of the sprouts and then cut the sprouts in half. Remove yellow or loose outer leaves and discard. Spread sprouts out on a large baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with half of the salt and pepper and toss well. Add the remaining salt and pepper.
Roast the sprouts for 25-40 minutes, tossing every 10-15 minutes, until the sprouts have browned and are crispy on the outside. Remove from oven and add more salt if desired.