Brussel Sprout Crack: A Sequel to Crack Broccoli

I have found the sequel to Crack Broccoli and this is a sequel worth taking a look at!  Find somebody, anybody, who says they dislike brussel sprouts and make them eat this. If they still dislike brussels after trying this then you should remove them from your life or possibly consider a restraining order. Something is wrong with them; they’re broken.

My husband and I went to a restaurant for dinner to celebrate my getting a new job (finally) after our move. We ordered the “special” appetizer despite usually steering clear of the special anything. On a side note:  I steer clear of the “specials” because very often, the “chef’s special” is often an effort on the part of the restaurant to unload surplus food that is going bad to possibly already-there-bad. Another reason not to order the special is that sometimes, that’s the chef’s chance to play with their food. This won’t always be something they’re really good at, they just want to try it out. If you’re feeling as daring as the chef, go ahead and try it. Other times, this is a regular item that they jack the price up on since they’re calling it “special” this week. On the other hand, ordering the “house favorite” can be a disappointment because the chef is just so tired of making that same meal. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule or course and in this case, I’m so so glad we tried the special.

This dish is one of those that stopped conversation at the table. The day after eating it at the restaurant I had a pound of brussels in the house ready to try it out the next day. We’ve happily eaten through three pounds of brussels THIS WEEK! How much more do I have to say? There is good news and bad news. The good news is that without a doubt, this is the tastiest way to ingest brussel sprouts. The bad news is that it is a bit time consuming to prepare. In the name of the love of food, I declare the work completely worth it. If good things come in small packages, good food comes with some prep.

Enough gushing on how good this is, let’s get to it!

Messy Ingredients:

  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
  • Pecorino-Romano cheese, finely grated

Wash and drain the brussel sprouts. Pre-heat your oven to 350º F. Trim the ends off of each and begin peeling off the leaves into a large bowl. Working from the cut end, pull off each leaf, whole (as possible). You will need to trim another bit off the end to keep peeling leaves. Eventually, there will be the “heart” of the sprout with tightly compacted, tiny leaves. Save these aside for a dish of sautéed brussel hearts. Toss the sprout leaves with enough olive oil to cover lightly and spread in a single layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Bake for 7 minutes, remove, stir, and bake another 7 minutes. Remove again and stir, bake another 5-7 minutes or until the sprouts are browned and crisp but not black. Meanwhile, zest the half of the lemon into the bowl used to toss the sprouts in earlier. Squeeze the juice into the bowl. Shred the cheese and set aside.  Once the brussel sprouts are nicely browned and crispy, toss them in the lemon zest/juice mixture and pour them into a bowl. Top with cheese and serve immediately.

If you wait too long, the heat of the piled goodness will wilt the sprouts and the result will be less crispy but no less tasty. Seriously, try this at least once so you can know the incredible taste of roasted brussel leaves. I can’t wait to try this out at my next dinner party!

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