by Peggy Paul Casella
For a short window of time, from September through December, you can find knobby Brussels sprout stalks at farmers markets and some grocery stores across our region. These mini brassicas are one of the healthiest vegetables around, with more vitamin C per serving than oranges and lots of vitamins A and K, beta carotene, folic acid, iron, magnesium and fiber.
Some studies have suggested that certain nutrient compounds found in Brussels sprouts may help reduce the risk of cancer, improve bone health, manage diabetes, maintain healthy vision and even keep your skin looking young. Fun fact: One of the most beneficial cancer-fighting compounds in Brussels sprouts—glucosinolate sinigrin—is also the reason this vegetable gets so stinky when it’s boiled or overcooked.
Buy sprouts on the stalk if possible, as these will have the highest nutrient content and will stay fresh longer when kept in the fridge. Plus, they’re usually cheaper that way, due to the reduced amount of labor involved for the farmer. Look for small, compact, bright-green sprouts that are white at the base.
For best results, cook Brussels sprouts for a relatively short time over high heat; roasting, broiling or pan-frying are all great techniques that bring out the vegetable’s nutty sweetness and reduce the stink factor.
Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts with Sriracha–Old Bay Aioli
Serves 4 to 6
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1 large garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a blender, combine the mayo, mustard, sriracha, Old Bay, garlic and lemon juice. Purée until smooth, season to taste with salt and pepper, and adjust the other seasonings as desired. Set aside.
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter melts and the mixture is hot but not yet smoking, add the Brussels sprouts, cut-sides down, and sprinkle them lightly with salt and pepper. Cook without stirring until the cut sides are nicely browned, 3 to 5 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium, stir the sprouts and cook for 5 minutes more, until all the sprouts are tender. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Spoon the sauce over the cooked Brussels sprouts a little at a time, tossing well after each addition until they are coated to your liking. (Or pour the sauce into a small bowl or ramekin and let guests spoon as much as they like onto their own servings.)
Peggy Paul Casella is a cookbook editor, writer, urban vegetable gardener, produce peddler and author of the blog Thursday Night Pizza.