Something Different
Week of: March 9, 2009
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Brussels Sprouts with Tuscan Flavor

By Dana Jacobi
for the American Institute for Cancer Research

Tuscan cooks make everything green taste great, including Brussels sprouts. The Tuscan approach is a simple one and usually involves olive oil. The roasted Brussels sprouts I buy at a take-out shop in New York City are a perfect example: They are tossed with oil before going into the oven, then spritzed with fresh lemon juice and drizzled with a touch of honey when they come out. Their tender but firm texture and savory-sweet flavor wins over even the most stubborn cabbage haters.

Roasting is an ideal way to cook Brussels sprouts. The oven’s dry heat tenderizes them while avoiding the mushy texture that turns many people off. Roasting also emphasizes the natural sweetness that all cruciferous vegetables have, particularly when they have been harvested after a frost has hit them. A bitter, snowy winter may not be fun for us, but at least it’s bringing out the tasty side in cruciferous vegetables.

Since mixing savory and sweet turns some people off, here is another Tuscan-style recipe for Brussels sprouts. After roasting, toss them with lemon juice and a shower of chopped parsley. Then, for a finishing touch, sprinkle on wide curls or sturdy chips of Parmesan cheese. To make these, scrape a chunk of cheese with one of those spade-shaped cheese servers you drag over the cheese, or run the cheese against the widest slot on a hand grater. Cut this way, a small amount of cheese adds bolder flavor than when it is simply shredded, especially if you can splurge on genuine, imported Parmigiano-Reggiano. Shaving also makes the cheese go so far that you will have lots left from two-ounce chunk. If you’re tempted to skip the parsley, don’t. Its fresh flavor ties together all the others in this easy dish.

Happily, large Brussels sprouts taste as good as small ones, so if you buy them loose, pick these out and you will have less work. Slicing helps the sprouts taste good because they cook more quickly, which avoids developing the “cabbagey” taste some people dislike.

Brussels Sprouts 03_09

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Parmesan

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 oz. chunk Parmesan or Asiago cheese, for shaving
  • Chopped parsley, as desired
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray

Remove the tough outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts.  Trim off the stem end of each and cut in half. Scoop the sliced Brussels sprouts into a mixing bowl.  Add the oil, salt and pepper, and using your hands, toss until the sprouts are well-coated.  Spread the sprouts on the prepared baking sheet.

Roast the Brussels sprouts for 25-30 minutes, stirring once.  Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.

Spread the roasted sprouts on a small serving platter.  Using a cheese parer or the widest holes on a box grater, shave the cheese into curls or chips.  Sprinkle the cheese and parsley over the roasted sprouts just before serving. Serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 97 calories, 6 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 8 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein,
3g dietary fiber, 292 mg sodium.

Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.

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