Meatless Monday: Brussels Sprouts

Don’t run away!

I have to say here: I did not grow up eating overcooked vegetables. My mother tended to steam vegetables, or roast them along-side meat. She did not boil vegetables into gray slime. So I have always had an appreciation for vegetables.

However, my mother also always knew her limits. If you are an adult of a certain age, you may have been subjected as a kid to the rather infamous meal of liver and onions. Once as a child, I asked my mom, who often ordered liver and onions when we dined out, why she never cooked liver and onions at home.

This is what she told me: “When I was first married, I wasn’t a stellar cook. But it was important to me that I learn how. So I followed a lot of recipes, and tried to make your dad meals I thought he would like. One night, I decided to cook liver and onions.” She stopped and shook her head. “Dawn, it was so bad, the dog wouldn’t eat it.” She doesn’t mention if the vegetable she served with that meal was Brussels sprouts, but I know that we seldom had them as kids.

As an adult, I have generally liked sprouts, but I’ve really only had them steamed with butter, or butter and lemon.

Then Dan and I went to Toast! (Which, just, if you have any special event in your life — or even if you don’t — just go. It’s stellar. Dan and I usually need an excuse to dine out at a nice restaurant, but if you just enjoy a good meal out with tasty wines, Toast! is a fantastic choice.)

My appetizer was roasted Brussels sprouts with lemon zest and truffle oil. They were crisp and delicious. (They are usually prepared with bacon, which I’m sure adds a whole new layer.) Since Dan liked them, I decided I was going to try to make them some time. Dan comes from a household where vegetables were cooked within an inch of their lives; I refer to this as Irish cooking (please note: I am half Irish). He thought cooked spinach was supposed to be gray.

I served Brussels sprouts Saturday night with the meal my mother made, and they were a hit. My father, another product of Irish cooking, tried them, although he didn’t exactly have many. Dan thought they were great — could’ve been more crisp. My mom and I loved them.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tablespoons honey
Olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Whisk together honey, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Spread Brussels sprouts on a foil-lined, non-stick sprayed cookie sheet. Drizzle the honey-vinegar over the sprouts, and toss them to coat. Sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper.

Roast sprouts between 20 and 30 minutes, until outer leaves start to get crispy and black.

Did you mother cook vegetables well, or too well done?

Please stay tuned! I have a special post and a giveaway (! I know!) coming up on Wednesday.