WITH ALL KINDS of Brussels sprouts—whole, halved and shredded—now available ready-to-cook at the supermarket, it’s hard to remember how unusual and sometimes disliked, this vegetable was once. My introduction to Brussels sprouts, cabbage’s kinder, gentler mini-variety, came at cooking school where I learned the pleasures of the perfectly braised sprout.
Perfectly braised Brussels sprouts. Chopped onions or shallots were gently cooked in butter until tender, halved or whole small sprouts were added along with chicken broth, salt and pepper. The sprouts cooked slowly, turning tender. I was wild for them, and soon braised Brussels sprouts, sometimes enhanced with bits of bacon, pancetta or sausage, sometimes not, became a regular staple at my table, especially at the holidays.
After some time, the thrill of the braised version started to diminish. Like a lot of things I develop a passion for, I burned them out. My love was rekindled when a friend told me about a dish she had at a restaurant: Shredded Brussels sprouts were sautéed with orange zest and juice until just cooked. I wasn’t a huge fan of the orange pairing, but I loved the method and came up with my own version:
Shredded sprouts sautéed with sweet onions. I thinly sliced sweet onions, sautéed them in a mix of butter and olive oil, added the shredded sprouts and salt and pepper and sautéed the vegetables until just tender, leaving the sprouts a nice bright green color. On its own, or mixed with broken spaghetti, the sautéed combo is delicious, just cabbage-y enough and with a nice sweetness from the onions.
Once again obsessed with Brussels sprouts, I thought I might as well try roasting them. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of roasting vegetables.
Roasted Brussels sprouts. Line a rimmed sheet pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil and, on the foil, toss the shredded sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper. You can add thinly sliced garlic cloves, diced onion, or the cured pork product of your choice—it’s up to you. Spread the shredded sprouts out on the pan and pop into a 375-degree oven.
Now comes the personal part—I happen to like the sprouts on the toasty side, others like them still bright green, so the cooking time varies. Anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes should get you where you want to go with them. And yes, you don’t need to shred the sprouts, you can take the Brussels sprouts and leave the small ones whole, halve or quarter large ones and roast them like that. Once again, how long you roast them depends on how you like them. I’m on the nicely browned team, but if you like them a little less done, go for it.
—Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
LittleBird “Stephanie Cooks” is former recipe editor for the Washington Post Food section and now once a week comes up with dinner ideas for MLB.