I’ve only recently discovered brussels sprouts are actually good. Really good. As in, “where have you been all my life?” good.
Well, maybe not all my life. I’ve never been a fan of green, leafy things, and brussels sprouts were close enough to cabbage that I classified them as inedible early in life. That’s practically sacrilege when you live in the home of collard and mustard greens (one of my closest friends raises greens on a farm in Mississippi, and I can’t tell you how many times she’s tried to send some home with me. Yuk. Have you ever noticed how slimy collard greens are?).
But I wasn’t raised in the South (at least, not completely), so I get a pass. I spent most of my single digit years in Washington state. And not in the mountains, either.
Eastern Washington is mostly desert and tumbleweeds, and where we lived, there weren’t exactly fields of vegetables. In fact, my only experience with fresh produce came when a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go with her and her family to pick some apples at an orchard. Sure. Why not?
My friend was a first generation Vietnamese girl whose parents escaped during the war. They were part of a tight knit community that shared, and apparently, this trip was part of that practice. We drove several hours to an orchard where they were allowed to pick and keep as many apples as they could in a day. I suppose they preserved them in some fashion and then shared them with other families in their circle. I had no idea. I just wanted to hang out with my friend.
Fast forward to the end of the day, and imagine my surprise when they tell me I’m going to keep all the apples I picked. Seriously? I thought I was just helping out.
Nope. All mine. I arrived back home with all my apples in tow–all 218 of them. My mom thought I had lost my mind. We piled them on a newspaper on the living room floor, and mom just stared down at them like she didn’t know what to do next. We had every kind of apple dish you can imagine for the next week, then she cut the rest up and put them in little bags in the freezer. When we moved two years later, most of the bags were still there.
So I learned to appreciate fruits, but not leafy greens, and I never developed a taste for them. Right after my dad died in 2016, though, my business partner invited me to join him and his wife for dinner at a restaurant in Seaside, Florida. I had spent dad’s final year as his caregiver, and my partner was worried about me. He thought the outing would do me good. I would never in a million years have ordered brussels sprouts. My partner ordered them as an appetizer and assured me they were outstanding. I’m polite enough not to argue.
Well, mostly–my partner and I are both lawyers, so I guess that’s not entirely true.
Holy Moses. Those little balls of leaves were one of the most amazing vegetable dishes I’d ever had. So, of course, I looked up the recipe the moment I left the restaurant.
I’ve been serving roasted brussels sprouts ever since–quarter them, coat them with olive oil, salt them, then bake them for forty five minutes or so. My husband told me he had only ever had them boiled before (eww). So. Much. Better.
But, geez, an hour can be a long wait. Steaks are done in 15 minutes. There had to be a faster way.
And here it is. In fifteen minutes, these are tender, tasty, good for you, and gluten free. They even smell good. What more could you ask for?
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts
2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt, to taste
In large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the sprouts and saute for about 10 minutes, or until brown and fork tender, stirring to make sure they are evenly browned. Add the garlic and saute for another minute, then remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Salt to taste and serve while still hot.