Growing up, my family never had Brussels sprouts. We partook of other members of the cruciferous vegetable family, namely broccoli and cabbage, but never those cute little sprouts.
Of course, those sprouts have a bad reputation, and even though I never tried them until early adulthood, I knew that they were hated by many. I can understand why, because vegetables in the cruciferous family (which also includes kale and cauliflower) contain sulfur compounds that can taste overwhelming to a certain segment of the population. When these veggies are overcooked, the sulfur flavor can be particularly strong (just one more reason to not cook veggies to death!).
Ironically, it’s these same sulfur compounds that make cruciferous vegetables so healthy, imbuing them with cancer-protective properties (in particular, there is a lot of promising research about ovarian and colon cancers). In “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth,” Jonny Bowden says that Brussels sprouts (which look like tiny cabbages) have many of the same nutritional benefits of other cabbages (he lists cabbage and Brussels sprouts as “stars,” aka the healthiest of the healthiest). One of the active ingredients in these veggies can actually persuade precancerous cells to commit suicide. Die, cancer cells, die!
I, myself, love Brussels sprouts (as does Jeff and much of our family), so I am eager to jump on promising new ways to prepare them. I was tearing recipes out of an old Martha Stewart Living magazine last weekend and chanced upon this gem. It was easy, and delicious!
Brussels Sprouts with Lemon and Walnuts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, stem ends trimmed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil; insert steamer rack. Add Brussels sprouts; steam until bright green and just tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in Brussels sprouts; cook until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice and walnuts.