A few months ago, my mom made Brussels sprouts and made me swear I’d try them. I felt like I was ten years old. Except that when I was ten, I didn’t have to try Brussels sprouts. Maybe since I am a lot less picky than I was when I was a kid at the dinner table, or maybe since my mom likes to wrangle me into eating heaps of vegetables with her, I agreed to try them that night.
Really, there was no way I could hate them. My mom roasted them with what she said was “an embarrassing amount” of butter and salt, and then sprinkled them generously with hazelnuts. They were delicious. I think I had three helpings. Three helpings and a gajillion grams of fat, but three helpings of a vegetable nonetheless.
As much as I loved my mom’s Brussels sprouts cardiac arrest in a side dish, I knew there was no way I’d replicate it in my own kitchen. I just can’t bring myself to butter things up like that and I felt nervous about making Brussels sprouts into the watery, bland, sad looking vegetables I remember seeing in the lunch line at my grammar school cafeteria. Ick.
Then, like some kind of garden fairy magic, I opened a magazine to find a recipe for “baby cabbages.” Next to it, a photo of Brussels sprouts in all their roasted glory looked as delicious as the dish my mom made. I was hooked. Maybe I couldn’t bring myself to blandness or buckets of butter, but this recipe I could definitely try.
I dutifully bought Brussels sprouts and roasted them with a bit of olive oil, salt, and herbs (here’s one easy recipe to try). Then I sprinkled them with Parmesan cheese. They were just as scrumptious as I’d hoped, tender with just a few crispy edges, salty without being bloat-causing. I ate two platefuls of baby cabbages, and even convinced my son to try some too. He wasn’t as in love as I was, but he was convinced enough to get a few bites in.
Since then, I’ve put fresh Brussels sprouts permanently on my grocery list. I’ve tried some other recipes and even sauteed them a time or two, and they have quickly become more than one of my favorite vegetables. They’ve become a vegetable I crave.
Who knew, especially way back when I was ten and would only eat celery with peanut butter or when I passed up Brussels sprouts in the cafeteria for a slice of soggy and bland pizza, that “baby cabbages” would be so satisfying and hold such a coveted place on my plate?
Are you obsessed with an unlikely vegetable?