We didn't eat a lot of Brussels sprouts when we were young. They weren't very appealing to us then. Now, however, we are quite taken with Brussels sprouts, and, curiously, we like them now for all the same reasons we avoided them when we were young. That mini-cabbage cuteness, the delicate yet vibrant flavor. But we're still trying to avoid one more anti-sprout turnoff: that ugly dull brownish-green color.
That dark green color is a sure sign of an overcooked and bitter Brussels sprout. If your little cabbages are dark green, the color of an Army Jeep, tough luck. And yet when we cook our sprouts to just the right level of tenderness, it's hard to keep them from turning this unattractive color. We prefer that bright, vibrant green that makes them such irresistible targets for unusual holiday decorations.
There's an easy way, though, to keep that bright color in your sprouts -- even when they are fully cooked. Just plunge them into a cold water bath when you're finished cooking them.
This sounds fussy, I know. I usually ignore any steps in a recipe that call for ice baths, cold water baths -- any bath. What a pain.
But here it's truly worth it, and not hard. Just fill an extra bowl or pot with cold water and put it in the sink. Bring your steamed or boiled Brussels sprouts to the sink, drain them through a colander, then instantly dump into the cold water. This stops them cooking, so you don't have to worry about them getting any mushier, and it also preserves their color.