Holiday Brussels Sprouts

img_9383I really like Brussels sprouts. I enjoy them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I realize not everyone is a fan of this healthy cruciferous vegetable and most folks either love them or hate them. If your mom (or whomever did the cooking) prepared stinky, smelly, nasty-tasting Brussels sprouts, don’t blame the pint-size vegetable … blame the cook.

Boiling, the only way many know how to cook this vegetable, breaks down the cell walls (releasing sulfur compounds) faster and more aggressive than any other cooking method, which can produce unpleasant odors.

Roasting Brussels sprouts is a better option. Drizzled with olive oil and salt, the tiny orbs get sweeter as they caramelize and retain their cancer-fighting phyto-nutrients. Because the nutrients are water soluble, you won’t get the health benefits using the boiling method because, they are doomed to go down the drain with the cooking liquid.

This recipe can be used as a side dish or bruschette for a colorful appetizer (always a hit at holiday parties). Christmas and Italian colors!

 

Ingredients:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Course salt
  • 2 cups Pomegranate seeds, divided (How to cut a pomegranate)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Ricotta, (for bruschette)
  • baguette (for bruschette)
  1. Place sprouts in an oven-proof baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with course salt. Roast in a preheated 375* oven until tender and caramelized. This could take 50 minutes to over an hour depending on the size of sprout. I used small ones and left them whole. If using large sprouts, cut them in half.
  2. Meanwhile, place 1 1/2 cups pomegranate seeds (reserve the remaining 1/2 cup for garnish) in a blender and pulse until liquefied. Using a small saucepan, combine the juice with the sugar and bring to a boil. Stir 1-2 minutes until sugar is completely dissolved. Cool and set aside. Makes about 1 cup of syrup.
  3. To serve, place the Brussels sprouts in a bowl or platter and drizzle with the syrup. Scatter fresh pomegranate seeds over the dish. How much you use is up to you. I cooked about a pound of sprouts and used 2-3 tablespoons pomegranate syrup.
  4. To make bruschette, smear ricotta over grilled slices of rustic bread or baguette and then top with Brussels sprouts (cut in half or quarters for a more manageable bite). Drizzle with syrup and a few fresh pomegranate seeds.

 

 

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