Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baby Cabbage

Jim’s kids will eat almost anything. I am so thankful we are not entrenched in the world of chicken fingers or one void of vegetables. These children are food enthusiasts at ages 8 and 4. They will chant for Korean BBQ from the back seat of the car. When asked which popsicle flavor they want I have heard this world weary response; “I don’t know, I’m kind of over chocolate sea salt.” One night Jim was working late and the three of us were going out for a date; I gave them their dining options: BBQ, Mexican or sushi. I thought for sure this would lead to an argument. I was wrong, it was unanimous, sushi. They pigged out on eel and ikura. But they are kids, peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, pizza and fluorescent frozen oddities from the ice cream man are also big hits. We can all enjoy such things occasionally.

One day this summer Jim’s son hollered up to our bedroom; ‘Hey Morgan will you make us those green things.’ ‘Green things?’ ‘Yeah, green, you know, they are green and round, like a little green cake.’ ‘Green and round?’ ‘Yeah.’ Still struggling. ‘Is it something I make, like actually make in to a dish or a vegetable I cook?’ ‘Vegetable. A green flower.’ Pause. ‘Brussels sprouts?’ ‘Yeah, will you make us some brussels sprouts?’

I like brussels sprouts. I’ve always liked brussels sprouts. I cut my teeth on boil a bag brussels sprouts swimming in butter sauce. If you eat cole slaw you will like brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts get a bad reputation because so often they are boiled to death. Not dissimilar from those crayon flavored gray things I was served in the cafeteria, you know them, canned green beans. Quite different than a fresh green bean. Over cooked brussels sprouts to a kid is slimy baby cabbage brain. The texture is off and overcooked so is the flavor.

I make these brussels sprouts all the time. And I get many compliments on them, from brussels sprouts lovers and the skeptics. Jim was a skeptic, he is a convert now. I’ve served them without asking people if they like them, because really I cannot imagine not liking them, and I’ve gotten surprised comments like ‘Wow I didn’t know brussels sprouts tasted good!’

Maybe if you call them baby cabbage you can slide them past the unknowing and the uninitiated.

Brussels Sprouts with Truffle Oil - Serves 4-6 as a side dish

1 pound brussels sprouts, end trimmed and cut in half

Olive oil

1 teaspoon truffle oil

Sea salt (preferably something fancy like Maldon)

Preheat oven to 375. Clean and dry the brussels sprouts, get off as much of the water as possible. Oil a baking sheet, place the brussels sprout halves face down on the baking sheets. Lightly brush the tops with a scant amount of olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, toss with the truffle and sea salt.

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