I’m not quite sure why, but I’ve been on a brussels sprouts kick lately. Maybe I’ve just been able to get my hands on them a bit more readily lately. I have noticed they seem to be appearing on more menus when I go out lately. Somehow, I seem to be converting my wife and daughter to tentatively start to enjoy them, too.
For vegetables, I prefer using dry cooking methods to wet ones. Steaming is about as wet as I go–it adds as little moisture as possible. Instead, I go for stir fry, grilling, or, in this case roasting. I start with a rub, give it a bit to coat and soak in the sprouts, then cook.
- 2 Cups Whole Brussels Sprouts
- 2-3 Cloves Garlic
- 1.5 Tablespoons Whole Mustard Seed
- 6-8 Whole Peppercorns
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
First, I like to make the rub. In my mortar and pestle, I combine the garlic, mustard, peppercorns, salt, and 1 teaspoon olive oil, and mash it until it becomes a nice paste, with few of the mustard seeds remaining whole.
Mortar and pestle?
Yep–I think it’s a great way to combine spices and, in some cases, herbs. I got mine at the Ohio Renaissance Festival, from someone who deals in herbs, spices, and teas. It was a hand-made ceramic one, yet fairly inexpensive. The texture on the side, along with the material I put in, helps to grind the rub.
OK, what if you don’t have one? I’ve kludged it by using a plastic or metal bowl and a flat-bottom cup. It will take a bit longer, but it will get you there. If you go that route, I would just grind the mustard and salt with some of the olive oil, mince the garlic with a knife, and grind the pepper in a pepper grinder. I suppose dry mustard powder could be used, though I am not sure how much you want.
Once this is ground to a paste, add the rest of the olive oil. and stir. Cut the very end off each sprout, then cut in half. Place in a mixing bowl. Once all the brussels sprouts are cut, pour the paste/oil over them, and toss to coat. Let rest for 30 minutes or so. Preheat your oven to 425°.
Arrange the sprouts on a flat or shallow pan, such as a cookie sheet, cut side up. We have a small pan that came with our toaster oven which works quite well. I like to line with foil, to simplify clean-up. If any of the rub is left in the bowl, it can be sprinkled on top.
Place in the oven on the top rack for about 20 minutes, until the center of the bulb (where the leaves join) becomes tender. Turn on the broiler, and cook until it gets a bit of color. I check it every minute. Set a timer–the line between “color” and “charcoal” is fine.
One alternative way of preparing them is, after the rest, skewer them and cook on a grill.