We are now in the month of July, 2020. This has been an incredibly interesting and in many cases, challenging year to say the least. If there is a little good news to be had, the year is now half over!
Ok, back to food. I came across an article this morning on Brussels Sprouts. Brussels (short) as we often like to call them the Culinary world, are for the most part, a fall and winter vegetable. Brussels are a member of the brassica oleracea family and considered cruciferous. As with most things these days, they are available year round because they are in season somewhere in the world. That doesn't make them necessarily good from a flavor and quality point of view, in the middle of summer. During the summer, they have likely been shipped or flown to a super market near you, from a country in another hemisphere, therefore, diminishing their quality. I have found that I prefer them in size from small or medium at the largest. If they are allowed to grow to a larger size (nowhere near that of a head of cabbage), the flavor and texture is not appealing.
I recommend taking a "seasonal" approach to them and look for them at the farmers markets, depending where you live in the US, or at the grocery store come October-March. Depending on the planting schedules of local farms, they usually start coming to markets in the US then.
Preparing Brussels in interesting ways, that transforms them from a little miniature head of cabbage looking thing, to something incredibly delicious, takes a little time and effort. Nothing that is complicated for this to happen, just a few steps. Here is one of my favorite ways to prepare them.
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Wash Brussels in a colander and allow to drain.
- With a pairing knife or, small vegetable knife, remove the root end or bottom, discard and reserve outer leaves and Brussels.
- After finishing trimming, split the Brussels in half and combine in a stainless bowl with outer leaves or any leaves that have separated. I discard any leaves that are discolored or damaged.
- Drizzle a good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, not your expensive finishing one! and toss to coat.
- Season with Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper. If you'd like, you can be creative here with any favorite spices too. I do like Pimenton the smoked paprika from Spain sometimes.
- Drizzle some balsamic vinegar (if you used Pimenton, I suggest Sherry Vinegar from Jerez instead) and toss.
- Spread evenly in one layer on a half sheet pan, or cookie sheet and place in oven. After 15 minutes, check and stir them around to turn them, the bottom sides and outer leaves should be caramelized or browning significantly. Close oven and continue to roast for another 10 minutes. Remove and re-toss in bowl that was used prior to roasting using the any remaining seasoning to flavor and moisten again.
- You may want to dust with a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano before serving.
Back to Summer! I hope you are enjoying delicious corn, peaches, heirloom tomatoes and watermelon.