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Vegetable Ambassador

By now, it must be only a cliché that people dislike Brussels sprouts. Most people know that these miniature green cabbages are one of fall and winter’s most delicious vegetables. They realize that the reason Brussels sprouts get a bad rap is because too many generations of cooks boiled them to death, turning the sprouts into smelly mush. But sautéed or roasted these beauties are addictive, a delicious truth that has finally made its way into the mainstream. Right? —

Well, based on the reactions of numerous passersby at the Tribeca Greenmarket this past fall I would sadly say no. Over the summer and fall I volunteered as a demo chef at the Greenmarket. And, one day I prepared simple, succulent Brussels sprouts. There were a few wonderful folks who proclaimed their love for Brussels sprouts, but most of their fellow shoppers were openly skeptical.

As the Greenmarket’s demo chef I considered myself an ambassador of sorts, someone who could introduce delicious vegetables to eaters, and encourage them to prepare the veggies themselves. I pushed hard on the Brussels sprouts that day, cajoling people to try samples, and I think this simple recipe won a few converts.

EASIEST AND BEST BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Brussels sprouts often get a bad rap, but when cooked properly they are a savory, addictive fall and winter vegetable.

Ingredients: 2 TB butter

1 TB minced shallot

4 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup water

pepper

1. Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted and the foam subsides add the shallot and cook for about a minute.

2. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt to the pan. Stir and continue to cook until the sprouts are bright green, about two minutes.

3. Add the water to the pan, cover and cook for three minutes. Test for tenderness; if sprouts are nearly tender uncover pan and continue to cook until remaining water evaporates, about two minutes. (If sprouts aren’t yet tender cover and continue to cook for another couple minutes.)

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

As a friend of mine said afterwards, if only I had topped the sprouts with crumbled bacon I would have converted them all. Feel free!

— Jenna Helwig, founder of Rosaberry