Are you a lover or hater? The mere mention of brussels sprouts seems to always elicit either a fervent grimace or rapturous smile. In my family, I was outnumbered four to one. In fact, for years, I never bothered to buy brussels sprouts because I knew no one could stand the cabbage-y smell, much less the taste.
But you know me well enough by now to sense another imminent cooking challenge. Could I get my husband to embrace the little green buds after a lifetime of rejecting them? Would my children, 3-year-old included, ever learn to appreciate brussels sprouts and even gobble them up enthusiastically?
My only shot at success was to find a way to make them irresistibly salty and crunchy, like chips. With my Kale Chips triumph in mind, I roasted the brussels sprout leaves in a low oven until they were perfectly browned and crisp. They disappeared before I could put them in a serving bowl! Then, left with the tender cores, I braised them in a sweet-salty glaze of orange juice, dates, and anchovies, finishing them off in the oven with a subtle char. They were melt-in-your-mouth good.
I only regret not making a bigger batch so there could have been leftovers for tomorrow’s dinner. This recipe is enough to feed a small holiday crowd. Both leaves and cores can be reheated a day later, only the leaves should be covered with foil to prevent over-browning. I am happy to report that, thanks to two ways of reclaiming brussels sprouts, my house is now full of lovers.
3 pounds brussels sprouts
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 tin anchovies packed in olive oil, drained and chopped
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1. Preheat oven to 275° F.
2. Trim the stems off the brussels sprouts and peel away the outer leaves into a large bowl. Continue trimming the stems, peeling away the leaves, until the leaves no longer separate easily. Reserve the inner cores in a separate bowl.
3. Toss the leaves with 1/4 cup of olive oil to coat them evenly. Spread them in a single layer on one or two baking sheets and sprinkle them evenly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. In a medium pot with a lid, heat the broth, orange juice, remaining olive oil, anchovies and dates to a simmer. Add the brussels sprout cores, cover, and simmer 10 minutes to soften. Uncover and continue simmering until the liquid has reduced to a glaze. Transfer to a silicone or foil-covered baking sheet.
5. Roast the brussels sprout leaves and cores in the oven for about 25 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until leaves are browned and crisp and the cores are soft and caramelized. Serve on separate platters.