Consider the Brussels sprout. Not so long ago it was a vegetable pariah in this country, something that parents threatened their children with if they didn’t behave. Usually prepared by being boiled to near-death, these bitter miniature cabbages—as most people seemed to think of them—were a prime example of healthy food that no one actually wanted to eat.
Nowadays, though, these little green bundles have become culinary stars. You can’t avoid them on the menus of trendy restaurants, often combined with bacon to tempt young pork-obsessed diners. In farmers’ markets, you can find them still on the stalk, a kind of vegetable modernist sculpture. Home cooks have come to love them, too. No Thanksgiving dinner, for example, would seem complete these days without Brussels sprouts.
We think this is a very positive development, a good example of how the palate in this country has expanded in recent years. Plus, we have to admit that we love the sprouts. We’ve prepared them every which way—we’ve braised them, steamed them, used them both raw and wilted in salads, and roasted them (yes, sometimes with bacon).
In this issue, you’ll find our new favorite, a quick and easy skillet-roasted approach. Unlike any other stovetop versions that we’ve found, these sprouts end up with brilliant green rounded sides and crisp-tender interiors contrasted by nutty-sweet, crusty façades. They’re not only delicious but also beautiful. It’s hard to imagine that a vegetable like this was once scorned.
Welcome home, sprouts.