Brussels sprouts are compact rounded leaves tightly bound into individual spherical-shaped heads ranging in diameter of one to two inches when mature. Their leaves range from sea green to fern green, some varieties featuring blushed violet red tips. They offer the flavors of the earth and the bitter sweetness of cabbage. The younger the Brussels sprouts carry a sweeter more palatable flavor.
Brussels sprouts are available year-round.
Classic cooking methods for Brussels sprouts include roasting, braising or pan frying them in butter with savory accoutrements such as garlic, shallots, thyme, rosemary and sage. Brussels sprouts take on the accompanying flavors which gives them more depth and appeal while also bringing sweetness to the Brussels sprouts. Slow roasting the sprouts in oil or butter is a great way to remove the sprout's natural bitterness. The smaller the sprout, the more sweet and the less bitter tendencies it will have. Brussels sprouts can be added to casseroles, gratins, soups and they are a great addition to Winter roasted vegetable medleys. They can also be tossed into a warm winter greens salad. Other choice culinary companions include bacon, pork belly, cheese, cream, duck fat, eggs, ham, grapefruit, olive oil,cider vinegar, lemon, hollandaise, maple, mushrooms, mustard, nutmeg, pepper, pistachios and pancetta.