Since we had Brussels Sprouts in Santa Monica recently, I thought I would make them with my favorite recipe. They come out best around this time of year, in the late fall, winter and spring. Forerunners to modern Brussels sprouts were likely cultivated in ancient Rome. Brussels sprouts as we now know them were grown possibly as early as the 13th century in what is now Belgium. The first written reference dates to 1587. During the 16th century, they enjoyed a popularity in the southern Netherlands that eventually spread throughout the cooler parts of Northern Europe. I happen to love Brussels sprouts, but not the over cooked variety known by so many children in North America. This recipe is easy with only a few ingredients that you can make in about 10 minutes.
Ingredients: Serves Two
- A generous handful of sprouts cut in half
- One finely chopped shallot
- 2-3 minced garlic cloves
- One tablespoon of sweet paprika
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt to taste
I use the classic method of steaming using my well loved steamer basket. These are really inexpensive and a worthy addition to any kitchen, I use mine at least once a week. Bring about an inch of water to a boil in the bottom of a pot into which your steamer basket or insert fits. Put trimmed and cleaned brussels sprouts in the steamer basket, set over the boiling water, cover, and steam until tender to the bite, about 4-5 minutes.
At this point you can just toss the sprouts with olive oil, paprika and garlic powder and serve. I like to add one more step, to grill or sauté the sprouts with shallots, fresh minced garlic and the paprika. Grilling leaves nice char marks and great flavor but I have to turn on the grill and I usually just use a pan. Sauté the shallots and garlic, with a pinch of salt, on medium heat until they become soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add the sprouts, sprinkle on the paprika, toss lightly, and continue cooking for about 2-3 minutes. I think the extra step really brings out the flavor of both the paprika and the wonderful nutty taste of the sprouts. Be carful not to cook too long, you want them firm.
This recipe for Brussels sprouts is bound to please the pickiest eaters and goes great with barbecued steak, burgers or really just about anything. Brussels sprouts are a very good source of many essential vitamins, fiber, and folate. They are especially high in Vitamin C. They have been shown to have some very beneficial effects against certain types of cancer, as they contain many different ingredients that are believed to help prevent the disease. So go ahead, eat your Brussels sprouts.