Foodie Family Faceoff: Brussels Sprouts

Img_5889With Thanksgiving two days away, it seemed appropriate to pull this one out of the recipe box. Matthew takes pride in his BS (brussel sprouts!) as he detailed in a post a couple weeks back. I too take pride in my BS. Alice Waters, in her excellent Chez Panisse vegetables, suggests chiffonading (pretentious term for slicing thinly) brussels sprouts, sauteeing them quickly, until just cooked. I concur; it preserves their bright flavors, intensifies the nuttiness, and–if you don’t overcook them–subdues that bitter, old-mustard flavor they too often develop. So, it being fall, I cooked some up a few nights ago. They were perfect: bright green, salty, nutty, lovely. And my kids absolutely hated them. You win Matthew. Or your son is genetically inclined to love BS (my wife and I cleaned our plates; my children went vegetable-less).

Parent-Friendly (Kid Questionable) Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
Enough brussels sprouts to feed a few people, super thinly sliced (i cut them in half along the axis, then slice thinly)
a couple cloves of garlic
pinch red pepper flakes
olive oil
lemon juice
chicken stock or water

Heat a pan with olive oil until smoking. Throw in your chopped garlic, pepper flakes, give it a minute or so to develop, then throw in the sliced sprouts. Let ‘em brown, stirring here and there. Salt and pepper to taste. Add a quarter cup chicken stock or water to steam it a bit. Cook until tender. Finish with a spritz of lemon juice.

Offer them to the kids.

Brace yourself for rejection.


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4 Responses to Foodie Family Faceoff: Brussels Sprouts

  1. matthew says:

    I’m loathe to argue with Alice Waters but I think the (kid friendly) key here might be to add the garlic later…..when the sprouts are almost cooked. That way you don’t need so much garlic but it retains the tasty flavour that kids love (well mine anyway).

  2. My adult self loves this recipe, but one of the most child-friendly features of brussels sprouts is their brilliant, toy-like resemblance to cabbage. The essence of “mini” could get lost in the chiffonade.
    So don’t give up on children and brussels sprouts! Try serving them halved (a la Matthew’s recipe), or even steamed whole with lemon, olive oil, and a little butter (which is how I loved them as a child).

  3. amy says:

    i make a recipe from Lidia Bastianich’s “Lidia’s Family Table”. essentially, you separate the leaves and saute them in alot of olive oil, with sliced garlic and a pinch or 2 of red pepper flakes – cover part of the time and then uncover until they are softened and caramelized in parts – add a little water if the garlic starts to burn. Finish with salt. For my kids, I add (off heat) some freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, We all love this one.

  4. Hugh Garvey says:

    Thanks for the tips, y’all. I bought some baby sprouts at the market this weekend and will give them another go with the kids. Maybe in their mini-cabbage whole form, maybe steamed and buttered, definitely salted, perhaps garlic-ed late in the game.

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