The Lowly Brussels Sprout

I don’t know a kid who has ever liked Brussels sprouts, so often slimy on the outside, overboiled, or just downright sulfurous. Some of us lucky ones come around to them as adults. Nicky, of Delicious:Days, is having a Brussels sprout conversion, recovering from a youth of hating the tiny little cabbages.

They were my childhood’s nightmare, an acquired taste coming at costs I wasn’t will[ing] to pay. With a great deal of persistence, my cunning mum wanted to coax me into liking them by sauteing them with bread crumbs—a very legit attempt. Anything involving butter-browned breadcrumbs increases the odds tenfold, but I was a hard nut to crack. Somehow I only have bad memories attached to Brussels sprouts.

Nicky recently came across a recipe, on German-language blog Chili und Ciabatta, for a Brussels sprout preparation that sounded tempting. She adapted the recipe, to include fresh red chile, pine nuts, and pancetta, and produced something capable of converting even her own former Brussels sprout–hating self. “I simply had to cook this meal again the following day,” she confesses. “Needless to say that when I told my mum on the phone about the 2nd time she was fully convinced I was pulling her leg.”

Nicky should have been hanging out with Molly of Orangette. Her post on “The State of the Sprout” two years ago made a convert out of me. I’ve been a happy Brussels sprout fan ever since (and I’m not the only one giving the little buggers a second chance). Sometimes wisdom does come with age, at least where Brussels sprouts are concerned.

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