The Book Vegetables

42. Pan-Browned Brussels Sprouts p.526

the recipe

A while back I mentioned that I’d think about opening a restaurant that specializes in helping adults overcome their childhood food traumas. Brussels sprouts will feature prominently on the menu. This preparation is the perfect reintroduction to this maligned vegetable. Boiled or steamed they can be fairly one-note bitter, and overcooked they have that sulfurous stink that’s so common in foods kids hate. Here they’re prepared simply with garlic and pine nuts in a bit of butter and olive oil. The garlic, and the nutty flavours of the browned butter, and pine nuts compliment the sprouts beautifully. The presentation is dramatic and very attractive, and the sprouts end up crisp, lively, and just cooked through. My dining companion and I made twice as much as we thought we’d eat, but polished the whole plate off.

I liked these so much I made them for the boys on one of our weekend getaways. That experience emphasized how important a heavy bottomed pan, and careful heat management are to getting this recipe right. Using a flimsy non sitck, on an unfamiliar stove I managed to leave half of them mostly raw on the inside, the other half overdone and all of them unappealingly blackened on the bottom.

That said this is still far and away my favorite Brussels sprouts preparation. As long as you can maintain low even heat the sprouts get caramelized on the bottoms, and perfectly cooked though. This recipe is ideally balanced; it manages to show off everything that is great about Brussels sprouts, and deftly avoids their weaknesses.

Pan-browned Brussels sprouts, you’ve earned your 5 mushroom rating.


I'm a graduate student in Montreal. I spend most of my time studying drug addiction using brain imaging techniques. I'm also a foodie, exploring the culinary world both in and out of my kitchen.

5 replies on “42. Pan-Browned Brussels Sprouts p.526”

I think you should emend your rating system. Everything should now be rated on a five brussel sprout scale. Bring your rating system into the 21st century, where root vegetables, cabbage and leafy greens are the new heirloom tomato.

Ahh, the heirloom tomato is here today, but where will it be tomorrow? Will it go the way of roasted garlic, homemade pasta, flambed evertying? Delicious, but no where near as sexy as they were 20 years ago? Maybe you’re right, root vegetables and offal may dominate our culinary world for the next decade, but they’re a flash in the pan compared to the timeless joy of mushrooms. A fungus is forever.

Thanks so much for this recipe! Derek’s been doing all the cooking and started using your site after Vinny and I suggested it. He tried this one first, and although Vinny doesn’t do brussel sprouts (or veggies, mostly), everyone else at the table were fighting for the last 3 in the platter!

2 thumbs up!

Awesome, I love hearing that other people are using these recipes, especially if you enjoy them! You guys are now the second members of the Gourmet Project Field Testing Kitchen. Welcome to the club.

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