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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Brussels Sprouts

Excellent Ingredient of the Week
Brussels sprouts, that’s right I said Brussels sprouts! Why eat them? Because they are the "king of vegetables!" I learned that from my friend's father when I used to go to their house for dinner. Mr Peter Pompous was a huge Englishman who demanded a proper formal dinner every night, even after his wife left him for another woman — whoops! That left his children to prepare the meal and for the first few months it was total chaos in the kitchen. The big reward was, if you got the dinner on the table, you got to drink wine with the meal and even got to choose an after-dinner drink from the fancy tray of brandies and sherries and other delectables. He had a name for every vegetable and side dish and Brussels sprouts was simply know as the king of vegetables. So why should you eat them?
Brussels sprouts contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anticancer properties. Although boiling reduces the level of the anticancer compounds, steaming, microwaving, and stir frying does not result in significant loss. Brussels sprouts also contain a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.
It is very important not to overcook Brussels sprouts. Not only do they lose their nutritional value and taste but they will begin to emit the unpleasant sulfur smell associated with overcooked cruciferous vegetables. That’s why most people hate them. To help Brussels sprouts cook more quickly and evenly cut each sprout into quarters. Here are some recipe suggestions:
  • Parboil or steam them for 5 minutes, rinse them in cold water to help them keep their green color, then sauté up some chopped bacon, once the fat renders, remove the bacon, sauté the sprouts until they start to brown, throw the bacon back in season with salt and pepper and serve.
  • With the same sauté method, you can also add chopped pecans, crumbled blue cheese, shredded Parmesan.
  • I also like to roast them in a hot oven 375 for 15-18 minutes with some garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then I toss in some balsamic vinegar at the end
  • You can also steam them and then mix in some lemon rind and olive oil, salt and pepper. Yum!