Let me tell you a story.
There once was a little girl who detested brussels sprouts.
This little girl’s mother made all manner of foods. Some that a little girl should like very much but didn’t (pineapple upside-down cake, peanut butter and chocolate sandwiches), and some that a little girl should not like but did (liver and onions, broccoli, cabbage rolls).
One day, the little girl’s mother brought to the table a dish of what, surely, had to be Barbie Cabbages. Wow! Tiny, doll-sized vegetables that the little girl, Pink n’ Pretty and Malibu Barbies could all enjoy together!
…If only they tasted better.
They were mushy, bland, flavorless. They were vaguely slimy.
But *this* girl was raised to eat her veggies, even if that meant choking them down with lots and lots of Quik (same practice was in play for slimy spinach, steamed cabbage, okra).
This little girl was only subjected to these mushy doll vegetables a few more times.
She learned to eat spinach raw (with some dots of goat cheese, strawberries and slivered toasted almonds – it’s almost dessert). She decided to avoid cabbage except for as cabbage rolls with lots of tomato sauce. The okra was a once-in-a-lifetime accident, never ingested again, and pineapple upside-down cake had the same fate.
But what remained unwanted were the brussels sprouts. The little girl has since grown up and revisited many of the same things that garnered grimaces and “yucks.” Among them: avocados, rosemary, and even steamed spinach and even men from New Jersey. She learned to like all but the men from Jersey.
At a restaurant in Chicago, a friend suggested the pair order a side of roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic. While still not a fan of the teeny veggies, the now grown little girl would eat anything drizzled with balsamic.
(Thanks for indulging my nostalgia for just a minute with that pic.)
When they arrived to the table, they were glistening, steaming, gorgeous.They were crisp, sweet, savory, salty.
Downright damned delicious.
Recently, the now-grown-girl needed a rustic, easy side dish for a rabbit dish. The first thing that came to mind?
Brussels sprouts. (I don’t know why, they just did). So I made them. (Uh, yeah, Swifty, the girl was me.)
I had no idea what I was doing, really, but I figured, no way would they turn out worse than they were when my mom made them when I was 6. And, since my mother would be a guest at my table, well, I had nothing to lose.
And, well, all’s fair in love and cooking. This time the cooking gods smiled on me (not so much for the other group of deities). They were pretty tasty.
If you haven’t tried to make these yourself , or if you were one of those kids whose mom tried to convice you that they were Barbie Cabbages but you couldn’t be sold, try them this way – you won’t be sorry.
A baking sheet.
Olive oil, salt (I prefer coarse kosher salt).
Balsamic vinegar ( the older, thicker, sweeter, the better).
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Toss the sprouts with olive oil and salt. Lay them flat on a baking sheet and roast at 500 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, until they’re roasty and browned. Once they’re roasted, toss them with the balsamic vinegar (no need for precise measuring, just douse them, to your own taste).
Eat your veggies, kids.