We had a brussel sprouts festival at the Market today and we crowned our Brussel Sprouts Princesses for the day: Sydney Rollins & Olivia Mullenix! They are holding brussel sprouts not yet cut from the stem and fresh from the garden of Ray & Judy Arlinghaus.
Brussels sprouts, is a hardy, slow-growing, long-season vegetable belonging to the cabbage family. Most Americans who do not like Brussels sprouts are haunted by childhood memories of smelly, army green, bitter, mushy globs that had to be eaten before dessert. Fresh Brussels sprouts, properly cooked, are deliciously delicate in flavor. Maybe it is time to give Brussels sprouts another chance, this time with a new attitude and a modern cooking spirit.
Like cabbage and cabbage sprouts, Brussels sprouts are a cool weather crop. They should be harvested when the sprouts are small, compact and bright green.
The fresher the sprouts, the better the flavor, so refrigerator storage should not exceed a day or two. Remove any damaged or irregular outer leaves and store fresh unwashed sprouts in plastic bags in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator.
Unlike most green vegetables, Brussels sprouts are rather high in protein. Although the protein is incomplete—lacking the full spectrum of essential amino acids—a serving of whole grains will make them complete. As a member of the cabbage family Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable. Current research suggests vegetables in this group offer protection against some forms of cancer.
The key to cooking Brussels sprouts is in not overcooking them. The leaves cook faster than the core, so cut an X in the bottom of the stem for even cooking when cooking the sprouts whole. As a rule, when Brussels sprouts have lost the bright green color, they are overcooked and have lost a considerable amount of nutritional value as well. Depending on size, cooking time should not exceed 7 to 10 minutes weather you are steaming, braising or boiling. Select sprouts of even size for uniform cooking. Large sprouts should be cut in half.
Braised Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Butter
Braising is an excellent method for cooking Brussels sprouts. Braising refers to cooking food with a small amount of liquid in a tightly covered pan.
1 pound small, firm, bright green Brussels sprouts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper