However, when cooked properly, they are full of lovely texture and delicious flavor. I’m on a mission to prove this often-overlooked vegetable should be a staple on your meal rotation.
Along California’s Central Coast, you’ll see stalks of mini cabbage-like orbs sprouting from a 4-foot stalk and crowned with large, rippled leaves. You can purchase fresh Brussels sprouts at your local farmers market in bulk or still attached to the stalk. The stalks can be an interesting way to visualize how they grow and provide a learning experience for both children and adults.
Growing in this perfect environment gives them a mild, earthy flavor that is also nutty and sweet when cooked properly – which is the key to enjoying Brussels sprouts. For consistent cooking, it’s also important to select sprouts that are similar in size.
Here are some tasty dishes you can make with farm-fresh Brussels sprouts:
Sauté with olive oil, pancetta and onions, topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
Roast in the oven to crispy perfection with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
Shave or thinly slice raw sprouts into a salad or slaw with nuts, pomegranate seeds and a vinaigrette.
Chop or slice into potato gratin or other casseroles.
Bake with butter, grated sharp cheddar cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
When purchasing sprouts, choose tight, compact sprouts with no signs of yellowing, good color and no softness. Store in a bag in the refrigerator for no more than two or three days. Freshness is important when it comes to good flavor and less bitterness – another reason to buy at your farmers market, where freshness is key.
You’ll find some of the tastiest Brussels sprouts at the Concord Farmers Market from Ventana Farms in Hollister and J&M Farm out of Gilroy.
Try fresh Brussels sprouts from the farmers market, and I’m sure you’ll change your mind about liking them.
The Concord Farmers Market winter schedule operates every Tuesday from 10 AM to 2 PM. The Thursday afternoon market returns to Todos Santos Plaza next June.