Brussels sprout is a member of the brassica family (which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale, among others). It was selected for its large auxiliary buds resembling small cabbages and was first cultivated in Brussels, Belgium. Brussels sprouts grow well in cool climates, and actually become sweeter and more flavorful after a few frosts. Brussels sprouts contain a significant amount of vegetable protein, and are a good source of vitamins C and K.
Store refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to a week. For longer-term storage, blanch for 3-5 minutes and store in an airtight bag in the freezer.
To prepare, cut off the tough bottom of the sprout stem and remove any damaged outer leaves. Brussels sprouts can be boiled or steamed for 5-8 minutes, and then tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. They are great additions to salads, soups and stews, and sautés.
Roasted Brussels Sprout with Bacon, Apples, Onions, and Balsamic Glaze
1 pound Brussels sprouts
6 slices bacon
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 medium onion, peeled, cut in crescents
1 tart crisp apple (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored, cut in crescents
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and hot sauce, to taste
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Trim root ends of the Brussels sprouts, remove any dry outer leaves, and cut each sprout in half. Toss with about a tablespoon of olive oil and roast uncovered for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove sprouts when cooked through and beginning to brown. Meanwhile, sauté bacon in a pan until just starting to crisp; remove and drain on paper towel. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon grease. Add mustard seeds to the pan and stir over medium high heat until they begin to pop. Add onions and apples, lowering the heat to medium; sauté, stirring occasionally, until they become soft (5- 6 minutes). Stir in sugar, wine and vinegar; raise the heat to medium high and cook, stirring, for several minutes until the liquid is reduced to a syrup. Remove from heat and stir in mustard. Chop the bacon and add to the pan; then add the sprouts to the pan and stir and toss to combine. Correct seasoning as needed. May be served immediately or at room temperature. (Recipe by our friend Haley.)