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Brussels Sprouts

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What is it?

Brussels sprouts—they get their name because it’s believed they were first cultivated in Belgium—look like tiny cabbages (and are a member of the cabbage family) and have a flavor that’s both assertive and somewhat sweet. They take well to a variety of cooking methods, including roasting, steaming, braising, and sautéing with they key being not to overcook them or they will becomes, like cabbage, unpleasantly pungent.

Kitchen math:

1 lb. = about 25 sprouts = about 3 cups

How to choose:

Look for sprouts from early fall through spring, and choose tight heads with little decay or yellowing. Sprouts that are loose and ruffly have most likely been grown in too much heat and won’t be as intensely sweet and nutty. You’ll sometimes find the whole stalk, which is gorgeous in a sculptural way but a pain to store once you get it home.

How to prep:

Use a small paring knife to trim off the lower part of the stem and any tatty outer leaves. Brussels sprouts can be cooked whole, halved, quartered, sliced. You can also separate the individual leaves, a little tedious, but a lovely presentation.

How to store:

Store sprouts in the coldest part of the refrigerator where they should last at least a week or more. The longer they’re stored, the more the outer leaves will yellow, so just peel them off before cooking.


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