Monday, October 13, 2008

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Remember hating Brussels sprouts as a kid? I do, and I'm pretty sure that was just based on rumor and innuendo, because I'm also pretty sure my mom never even made them! (One of the advantages of growing up with a Latin mom - arroz con coco y guandu (a Latin is a recipe in Spanish from another Panamanian) and weird tropical foods like mamon (aka rambutan) featured prominently, but standard "American" fare like tuna fish casserole and liver & onions were something that we never touched).

When I moved to Seattle, actually, is when I discovered a new love for vegetables. Specifically, vegetables roasted in a hot, dry oven. (My favorites are Brassicas - broccoli, cauliflower, and stuff like Brussels sprouts)...Their sulfurous flavors get toned down and some sugars in the plants caramelize in the heat of the oven, making a lovely side dish.


- Brussels sprouts (fresh, local, organic... these options are always better tasting :) ), stem ends cut off and bigger sprouts sliced in half lengthwise

- 1/2 oz to 1 oz hard cheese, such as Parmegiano-Reggiano or Asiago, finely grated

- 1 - 2 slices Prosciutto di Parma, minced

- Olive oil, to taste

- Sea salt, to taste

- Pepper, to taste

What To Do:

Preheat oven to 400 deg F.

Place the sliced Brussels sprouts in a Pyrex dish, as shown below:

Toss in the grated cheese and prosciutto. Pour a good glug of olive oil over the whole thing - my method is to partially close off the olive oil bottle opening with one finger and move it quickly over the top of the sprouts. Sprinkle a healthy bit of salt & pepper on there, and toss if you desire.

(Note: The purple things in the picture are slices of Italian eggplant I added in, because the eggplant was getting soft and needed to be, eaten).

Place dish in oven, on top shelf, and cook until golden, brown, and delicious. Your kitchen will smell great (and vegetal!) :)


Vegetarian Options:

- Omit the prosciutto. You could use butter if you like, to add a different flavor profile. They are delicious with just the olive oil, too! :)

Vegan Options:

- Omit the cheese. Actually, my favorite roasted vegetable is broccoli tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper and allowed to hang out in the 400 deg F oven till the tips are somewhat browned.

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