Lately in the garden, I've been planting a boatload of cool-season root crops, cabbages, lettuces and the like. The one I am most excited about? Brussel Sprouts. :) Yes, brussel sprouts. I like to eat brussel sprouts (though I didn't for many, many years), but I am mainly excited to see the giant stalks with tiny little cabbages all up and down the sides growing in my garden this year! We will see if I am successful (could be debatable! We have deer and bunnies and groundhogs galore!)
Anyway, while planting brussel sprout seeds, it got me thinking about my conversion to eating brussel sprouts. I never liked them - they were too peppery -- or sometimes too sweet when folks added honey or such to them. (Does anyone else HATE that when folks make wonderfully savory things sweet? You know...like HAM or SWEET POTATOES or BRUSSEL SPROUTS. Ruins them.)
In any case, my husband brought home one of those giant stalks one day from the grocery store (yes, Deborah Madison, you pegged at least one shopper in your brussels description in Vegetable Literacy!) and whipped them into a delicious little dish. FULL of garlic, LOTS of charring and NO sweetness -- they were DELICIOUS! Now I know you are supposed to eat veggie crisp and green, and I know that fine dining chefs would think my husband's dish was trash, but I LOVED IT. I HATE when cooked veggies still have too strong of a bite to them. I like a good strong sear and a chewy inside and luckily I have a husband that gets it :)
So once I was sold on the concept of charred brussel sprouts, I decided to do a little experiment. Can you get the same effect with frozen brussels? Frozen bagged brussels vs. boxed? Worth the cost difference? Let's check it out!
The frozen sprouts are smaller than fresh (as anticipated). I am not sure if they are a smaller variety, picked younger or just plain dinky, but the two brands I tried were definitely quite a big smaller than the fresh. Alex cuts the fresh in half to cook while the frozen brussels were fine whole.
Fresh is DEFINITELY prettier and definitely tastes better. Those cut inside edges, charred to perfection are JUST right. HOWEVER, when brussels are NOT in season and very, very expensive, I will definitely not hesitate to use frozen. I probably wouldn't serve them to guests, but for a delicious side for me? Yes ma'am!
The recipe? Give me a couple days. I have to wrangle Alex into spilling his secrets! I'll be baaaaaaaaack!
PS - The general concencus is "Brussels Sprouts", but I am going to stick with the Midwestern shortening to Brussel Sprouts. Love y'all!