Do you feel like there’s not enough greenery on your savory table? Haven’t had a positive experience with Brussels sprouts before? It’s time to give Brussels their moment in the spotlight. When done correctly, roasted Brussels sprouts are the definitive snack or side dish for salty tooths.
Selecting and Prepping Your Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are a cinch to clean and prep for cooking. Look for firm, tightly closed bulbs free from significant dark spots. Yellow leaves mean they’re past the point of freshness. And while you can easily remove an outer yellow leaf or two, bright green is the way to go.
After removing any unsightly top leaves, rinse off the Brussels sprouts in a colander. With a paring knife, slice off any remaining stalk and then slice the sprouts in half. If a sprout is particularly large, cut it into quarters so that all pieces are roughly the same size. Be sure to save any healthy leaves that come off while slicing. These make extra crispy chef snacks!
Roasting It Right
Think back to the most delectable roasted veggies you’ve ever had. They were likely aromatic and tender, with a bit of crispiness and caramelization on the outside. Each roasting technique below is designed with these qualities in mind. We can easily avoid soggy and bland. Like with everything else, a few mindful cooking choices can help you get the perfect oven-roasted Brussels sprouts the first time.
For starters, you’ll need high heat. For the outer leaves to turn crunchy and browned, low temps just won’t do. Make sure the oven is roaring hot and has had plenty of time to preheat. Usually, anywhere from 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit will do. A dark pan will also help them crisp up since dark colors absorb heat rapidly. Save the light pans for baking cakes low and slow.
Take a side bowl and toss the Brussels sprouts in your preferred oil before they move to the pan. Having enough oil is another key to crispiness so that every part of the sprout can be cooked. Oil is also a chance to add aromatics. Flavor compounds infuse the oil, and thereby the sprouts themselves. In other words, this is a good time to add garlic, cayenne, or whatever flavor you’d like. And of course, salt. Don’t forget the salt.
Once the sprouts have been tossed with oil and aromatics, make sure they have breathing space on the pan. They’ll release water as they cook, and the water will need room to escape. If the sprouts are too crowded, they’ll steam to a sog instead of cook to a crisp.
Keep a close eye on your sprouts in the oven, and toss them once or twice to ensure all sides get a good roasting. You’ll want a dark brown, almost black char on the outside. Once they’re done, pop ’em in your mouth as soon as you can without burning your fingers!
Brussels sprouts make an excellent snack or side dish, even for people who claim to not like vegetables (I’m looking at you mom!).
- 2 pounds fresh Brussels sprout bulbs cleaned, stem removed, and halved lengthwise
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 large cloves garlic sliced
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Put all ingredients into a large bowl, and toss to mix together.
- Place Brussels sprouts on a large, dark, rimmed baking sheet, cut side down.
- Roast the sprouts in the oven, tossing once or twice, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sides are slightly charred and crispy. Serve immediately.