Over the last year, I developed a huge food crush on brussels sprouts. It’s funny to think back on how much I loathed these mini cabbages as a child, convinced that my mother lit a stink bomb in the house each time she cooked brussels sprouts. Though my mother is an amazing cook, she fell into the trap of boiling brussels sprouts. To quote Pretty Woman:
Unfortunately, by exposing the brussels sprout, or any member of the brassica (or cabbage) family, to high heat for a prolonged period of time, you inevitably release the vegetable’s sulfurous compounds. Cue, stink bomb.
I probably cook brussels sprouts about twice a week, using a variety of recipes that never include boiling! I roast them and dribble with a balsamic reduction, chop them raw with apples and walnuts topped lightly with vinaigrette, or simply saute them with garlic, olive oil, and crispy prosciutto. The latter is my favorite variation by far and incredibly simple!
- 1 1/2 pounds of brussels sprouts
- 2 table spoons of olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 5 or 6 slices of prosciutto di parma
- Parchment paper
First things first, preheat your oven to 350° for the prosciutto. Next wash and dry your brussels sprouts thoroughly then trim the stems and remove any brown outer leaves. Chop the brussels sprouts into quarters. In a large pan, heat two tablespoons of olive oil over a medium flame. Place brussels sprouts into the pan and toss to distribute the oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Saute for about two minutes.
Allow your brussels sprouts to cook over low to medium heat, tossing with tongs every few minutes. Frequently tossing the brussels sprouts allows them to caramelize without over cooking on any side. As your brussels sprouts cook down, begin on the most magical part of this meal: crispy prosciutto.
Lay your prosciutto flat on parchment paper over a baking sheet. Bake for 13 minutes or until crisp. Remove your baking sheet from the oven and allow the prosciutto to cool slightly. I prefer baking the prosciutto rather then sauteing it with the vegetables. The parchment paper catches some of the grease and your left with crunchy goodness.
Voilá! A flavorful side dish even the biggest brussels sprout skeptic could enjoy! For a zesty punch, you can grate a bit of lemon over your vegetables or for a savory kick, throw in a bit of freshly grated Parmesan.
To make a meal out of it, I scoop a cup of these brussels sprouts over a bowl of whole wheat spaghetti and sprinkle with Parmesan. The flavor of the prosciutto and the brussels sprouts distributes throughout the pasta, no additional olive oil or butter necessary. This also keeps nicely for a hearty lunch at work the next day.
To read more about the brussels sprout and discover other fun recipes check out this NPR article.