It doesn’t really feel like fall in St. Louis yet. The trees are changing colors and the sidewalks are full of leaves, but temperatures hover around 85 degrees F every day.
Still, farmers’ markets are full of fall produce so last weekend, I decided to buy some. The Brussels sprouts looked especially on point so I got about a pound. I didn’t need to deliberate much before deciding what to do with them.
My favorite way to eat Brussels sprouts is roasted. I like to turn the heat on the oven way up and I roast the Brussels within an inch of their life. Think charcoal-y, slightly caramelized outsides, with some blackened, withering leaves around the edges of the baking sheet. I know it kind of sounds disgusting but trust me, it’s SO. GOOD.
The charcoal adds a rich flavor and gives the sprouts a crispy texture. I coated these sprouts in honey and balsamic before I baked them in the oven, which added some sweetness.
The other important aspect of this dish is salt. I was reading an article the other day where Grant Achatz, the star chef of Alinea in Chicago, agreed to help a reporter from Chicago magazine cook dinner. He told her to salt a dish and she pinched a little between her fingers and threw it in. He smiled at her and threw in three large handfuls of salt. Home cooks never use enough salt, he said.
It’s so true. I think home cooks shy away from salt because we’re told by people (parents? society? Idk) that too much salt will make the food taste gross and that it will eventually kill us. Neither is true.
Salt brings out other flavors in the dish. In this case, it paired with the caramelized outsides of the sprouts and the sweetness of the balsamic and honey. This dish wouldn’t have been the same without salt.
I topped the sprouts with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan but feel free to get creative. I’m sure that dried cranberries or another kind of cheese such as Gorgonzola would also be delicious.
I also served the sprouts over a quinoa/millet blend but you could also use rice or farro as a base. The sprouts may even taste good over salad leaves, but I haven’t tested that theory yet.
Here’s a song to get you started on your Brussels sprouts making journey. It’s also good for moments when you have to hold yourself back from opening the oven and eating all the blackened Brussels sprouts skins off the baking sheet.
Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
1 lb Brussels sprouts, rinsed, tops cut off (1/4 inch) and sliced in half vertically
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the Brussels on the baking sheet and toss with olive oil, balsamic, honey, salt, and black pepper until the pieces are evenly coated. It’s okay if some leaves come loose and hang out around the edges (like I mentioned, these are a delicious snack).
Roast the Brussels in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are caramelized and charcoal-y on the outside. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
Toss with pine nuts and shredded Parmesan. Serve on top of quinoa, rice, or another grain. Enjoy!