My first encounter with Brussels sprouts was hardly positive. We were having Thanksgiving with some family friends and I was around the age of 8. I sat down next to my blonde best friend, who turned to me with a warning look in her eye, "Don't eat the Brussels sprouts," she warned, "They are really gross." I watched with horror as a blue pottery bowl was passed around the table heaped with steamed Brussels sprouts. I had never seen anything like them before, and they seemed a bit frightening. "How did you even fit one of those green globes in your mouth?" I wondered.
Like the obedient child I was, I took several. The only impression I remember from that first encounter was fear that I wouldn't be able to eat them. But what a contrast it was for my daughter's first experience! My daughter, Elena, was around 2 or 3 when we went through a Brussels sprout craze. I still remember the first time I made them with her. Her chubby little fingers helped peel of any loose outer leaves, while I cut them in half for roasting them. Not only did Joel and I love roasted Brussels sprouts, but she did too.
In fact, when prepared properly, you can hardly imagine why people hate them so much because they are lovely. So do yourself a favor this year, if you serve Brussels sprouts, make them a beautiful way. Don't just steam them, please. On behalf of all 8-year-old girls everywhere, I implore you.
To get you started, here are some recipes that will make Brussels sprouts a star on your Thanksgiving table, instead of a horror. One quick tip: for best flavor try to buy the freshest possible Brussels sprouts on the stalk. Your guests will thank you.
1. Simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts: So easy, but so delicious, this is one of my favorite ways to make Brussels sprouts.
2. Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts: Pan-roasted and finished with a sprinkle of cheese, these Brussels sprouts are delicious too. Plus they are great to make when you don't have any oven space.
3. Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon: Bacon and cabbage have a natural affinity, so it makes sense that bacon and Brussels sprouts would, too. This simple saute unites them once again.
4. Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Apple: This recipe shreds the Brussels sprouts for a more delicate texture. The apples add sweetness and the pine nuts crunch.
5. Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Wild Mushrooms: In a gourmet twist of the typical green been casserole, this dish has many different layers of flavors.
6. Sauteed Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts: This simple dish pairs green beans and Brussels sprouts together, so you have both traditional Thanksgiving vegetables together in one dish. The twist is the mint and hot pepper flakes.
7. Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Fresh Walnuts and Pecorino: For a fresh take on Brussels sprouts, don't cook it all and make a sort of gourmet coleslaw with it, such as this recipe.
8. Brussels Sprout Salad Recipe: Another salad recipe that uses a lemon juice and olive oil dressing, hazelnuts, and a flavorful hard cheese.
9. Brussels Sprout Slaw with Mustard Dressing and Maple-Glazed Pecans: This slaw, with a mustard-spiked dressing and sweet pecans, sounds like a well-balanced salad that would make a splash on Thanksgiving.
With recipes like these, who wants to steam Brussels sprouts, anyways?