In Season West Coast: Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk
Poor Brussels sprouts. They’re a love ’em or hate ’em kind of vegetable. I suspect this is mostly because they’re horribly misunderstood and so often badly prepared.
They received terrible treatment in the 50s, 60s and 70s, as they were boiled down to a smelly mush. Then came the 80s backlash, when it was considered smart to undercook all vegetables. Brussels sprouts dont take kindly to that treatment either. They need to be cooked well to bring out their nutty sweetness.
The fact is, Brussels sprouts have considerable charms. They take well to roasting, blanching and then sauting and also to braising. They pair nicely with bold flavors and ingredients like nuts, balsamic vinegar, mustard and salty meats. As members of the cruciferae family, they are very good for you.
Buying them on the stalk is sort of fun and novel, but theres a good reason to purchase them that way: They keep their freshness longer. As Brussels age after picking, they lose their sweetness and moisture content. The stalk, especially if its kept moist, helps them keep their dewy youthfulness.