Seasonal Vegetables: Cooking with Brussels Sprouts

When the calendar enters the fall months, chefs and home cooks all over the country want to know what’s fresh, local, and in season. One delicious fall vegetable that’s gained popularity over the last decade or so is the Brussels sprout. Brussels sprouts, at first glance, appear to be miniature cabbages. While they are in the same family as the cabbage, they are their own unique vegetable. They are a member of the Brassica family along with kale, cauliflower, collard greens, cabbage, and broccoli.

The name “Brussels sprouts” was given to the vegetable around the 16th century when they were being cultivated in Belgium. The name is “Brussels sprout” with a capital “B” and not “brussel sprout” or “brussels sprout.”

The Brussels sprout is a very nutritious vegetable as it is high in vitamins A and C (more than an orange per serving) and a good source of iron. They are also high in vitamin K, beta carotene, folic acid, magnesium, and fiber.

When buying Brussel sprouts, there are a few things to look for to make sure the best quality is being purchased. Look for tight, green leaves; any signs of yellowing usually mean the vegetable is slightly past its prime. The smaller the sprout, the more tender and sweet it will taste. The larger sprouts usually have a more cabbage-like taste.

After the perfect Brussels sprouts are in-hand, the all-important cooking method comes in. It is important they are cooked just long enough to be tender but not so long they turn into a mushy mess. Roasting, steaming, grilling, and sautéing are some popular methods used. Brussels sprouts can be eaten raw; however, it’s recommended to shave them into lettuce like shavings. They can be paired with other vegetables and dressings to make delicious salads. Below are some recipes to reference for the seasonal vegetable.

Bacon Brussels Sprout Skewers (serves 50)
• 5 pounds bacon
• 10 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts
• 1 cup olive oil
• 3 tablespoons garlic powder
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon black pepper
• Preheat oven to 375
• Cut bacon in half lengthwise. Transfer to sheet pan. Partially cook the bacon for approximately five minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool.
• Trim bottoms off the Brussels sprouts and cut in half lengthwise. Add to a bowl with olive oil, garlic powder, kosher salt, and pepper. Sautee the sprouts until tender and browned.
• To assemble the skewers, start with the bottom part of the bacon, then add a sprout. Weave the bacon and sprouts, alternating down the skewer until the skewer is full.
• Once all skewers are complete, put in oven and cook until bacon is browned and cooked all the way through, approximately 5 minutes.
• These can also be finished on a grill if desired.

Buffalo Brussels Sprouts (Serves 50)
• 12.5 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
• 8 cups flour
• 20 eggs
• 8 cups panko bread crumbs
• Oil for frying
• Salt and Pepper
• House made Buffalo sauce
• House made Ranch Dressing
• In a large pot, bring salted water to boil. Cook Brussels sprouts about 8-10 minutes, until bright green and tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.
• Arrange flour, eggs, and panko into three separate dipping pans. (Dry, wet, dry method)
• Heat oil to 350 (deep fryer preferred).
• Dredge brussels sprouts: dip in flour, egg, and then panko.
• Drop Brussels sprouts in oil and fry until golden brown and crispy, approximately two minutes. Allow finish product to drain and drop on paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
• Serve alongside house made Buffalo sauce and ranch dressing.

Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Serves 50)
• 12.5 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
• 1 cup olive oil
• 3 tablespoons kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons black pepper
• ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
• ¼ cup honey
• Preheat oven to 425 degrees
• In a mixing bowl, mix 2/3 cup of the olive oil and all salt and pepper. Add Brussels sprouts and evenly coat the vegetables.
• Roast on a baking sheet, turning occasionally, until sprouts are tender and caramelized. About 20 minutes.
• In separate bowl, mix the remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Add the finished brussels sprouts to the bowl and mix, coating the sprouts evenly. Serve.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples and Walnuts (Serves 50)
• 10 pounds Brussels sprouts
• 10 medium Granny Smith apples
• 10 medium red onions
• 10 cups chopped walnuts
• ¾ cup Dijon mustard
• ½ cup maple syrup
• 2 cups red wine vinegar
• 10 cloves minced garlic
• 5 cups olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Trim ends off Brussels sprouts and shave thinly. Slice apples and red onions into thin julienne cuts. Add ingredients to a bowl.
• Toast walnuts in a skillet for a couple of minutes until toasty and fragrant.
• In a food processor, add remaining ingredients to make a vinaigrette.
• Combine all finished ingredients and serve.

Spicy Grilled Asian Brussels Sprouts (Serves 50)
• 12.5 pounds Brussels sprouts
• 1 cup olive oil
• Spicy Asian Rub:
o ½ cup Chinese five-spice powder
o 1/3 cup light brown sugar
o 1/3 Kosher salt
o 2 tablespoons Cayenne pepper
o 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder
• Thai Chili Sauce:
o 10 garlic cloves
o 8 hot red peppers
o 1 cup sugar
o 1 1/2 cups water
o ½ cup rice vinegar
o 1 tablespoon salt
o 4 tablespoons cornstarch
o 6 tablespoons water
• Trim and cut Brussels sprouts in half.
• Combine all ingredients to make Spicy Asian rub.
• Toss halved brussels sprouts with olive oil and spice rub.
• Heat flat top grill to 350 or medium heat.
• Combine cornstarch and 6 tablespoons of water to make a slurry. Combine all other ingredients for Thai chili sauce in food processor. Blend and add to stove top. Bring to simmer and add cornstarch slurry. Simmer for a couple of minutes until thickened.
• Cook Brussels sprouts on flat top grill until caramelized and tender.
• Toss finished sprouts with Thai chili sauce. Serve.

David Gaster//Chef on Demand™