Thursday, December 20, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Mmmm, brussels sprouts. This is one of my absolute favorite side dishes to make...and actually, not only are they good for dinner, but if you make them in advance, chill them in the fridge, and serve them with the lemon dill aioli I described in this post, they make a great party appetizer. I recently made them for a friend's baby shower, and labeled them ever so adorably...

Ok, ok, I know, cheesy. But still! Cute! And also very delicious! Roasting the brussels sprouts gives them a much different texture and flavor than when you eat them steamed. When you steam them, they smell a little....cabbagey. But the roasting changes it to a nutty, slightly peppery flavor. They're great. I promise you. 

Total Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Cook Time: 20 minutes

What you will need:

1 package brussels sprouts (this package is a prop; I had already started cooking with sprouts from Black Hog Farm)
1/2 lemon 
1 1/2 tbsps (approximately) olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

First things first is to wash/clean your brussels sprouts. Since they are basically little heads of cabbage, they get dirt in between some of their leaves (particularly the outer leaves). Also, sometimes the grocery store sells them to you with a piece of little woody stem still stuck on them, so you'll want to cut the bottoms of them and peel off the outer leaves if they look wilty and damaged. Wilty is a technical term.

Preheat your oven to 400. 425 is preferable, but I tend to steer towards 400 since my oven likes to create a lot of smoke. Which makes J unhappy, because then he's stuck fanning our smoke detector with a kitchen towel while I finish cooking.

Next, put them in a pot with a lid, with approximately 1 inch of water. Cook them on medium high, allowing steam to escape, for approximately 6-8 minutes (after the water starts boiling and they start steaming). You want them to be firm, and bright green in color, but beware that they are completely raw on the inside. The best way to find out is to either cut one in half, or taste it. After they are done, drain them in a colander and let them cool.

After they cool for approximately 10 minutes, cut them in half, lengthwise. 

Once they are all cut, it helps to press them gently with paper towels, as the more water you get off of them, the crispier they will be after roasting. If you are pressed for time, this is not a necessary step.

Put the halves in a large bowl, and coat with the olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add more salt and pepper than you think you will need, as it soaks in. Drizzle with lemon juice, then toss to coat the sprouts evenly with the liquid.

Cover a baking sheet with tin foil (this avoids messy clean up and scrubbing later!) and spread the sprouts in a single layer on the sheet, Place in the oven for approximately ten minutes. Stir them around, trying to get the other side of the sprouts to face top up.

Let the sprouts cook for about another ten minutes, then peek in the oven. You're going to have to eyeball the crisp factor, but make sure they don't burn. Burnt brussels sprouts are not so tasty.

Serve, and enjoy!

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