BRUSSEL SPROUTSIn my family, the traditional vegetable for both Christmas and Thanksgiving is brussel sprouts. Did I catch you turning up your nose? Then I ask you, what is it about this vegetable that people hate?

Let me start by assuring you that no, we don’t cook them until they turn gray, soft, and, well…smelly. When cooked in water, I just boil (or steam) them until the little sprouts are a bright green. That’s it. Really, just a few minutes of cooking. I then top them with salt and pepper, or some lemon juice, or even a light cheese sauce, and they’re fantastic. But there are so many other ways to prepare brussel sprouts that are truly delicious.

A recent favorite of mine it to roast the sprouts, after tossing them with some olive oil and assorted seasonings; I usually use salt and pepper, and sometimes add a bit of onion powder. I then cook the sprouts on a cookie sheet at a relatively high temperature, around 400f, until they turn just a toasty brown. Depending on your oven, the time can vary from 20 to 45 minutes. I find I have to keep a close eye on them, to avoid burning.

My second favorite way to prepare brussel sprouts, is a variant on a recipe I saw years ago on the old Frugal Gourmet series on PBS. You drop the sprouts into boiling water, and cook them until they turn bright green. Immediately scoop them out of the boiling water and drop into a bath of ice water, so the cooking stops. I then saute an onion or two (usually red onions) in olive oil until they’re soft. At this point I add in some garlic, and cook it a few minutes more. Then, I add the brussel sprouts in with the cooked onion, stir things up, and cook for just a few more minutes, at which point I add some balsamic vinegar, stir things around again, and they’re ready to serve. Truly delicious!

So where do you stand on brussel sprouts? Do you love them? Do you hate them? And if you love them, what are some of your favorite preparations?