Brussels sprouts are awesome, but I didn’t know that for like 30+ years. And the right way to cook Brussels sprouts is even awesomer, which is maybe why I didn’t know if for even longer. The main thing is to slice them each in half and burn the bejeezus out of them.
Real chefs (or maybe it’s people who play real chefs on TV) say that home cooks are afraid of heat, and that’s true. When there’s too much heat, I do stupid things. Like even when I found a good recipe for pan-cooked Brussels sprouts–from Gourmet, Feb. 1999, but I think I spotted it in the Big Yellow Cookbook–that required garlic to be tossed in early then pulled out, I would leave the garlic in and it would burn under the sprouts. So now I am older and wiser and I use the damn slotted spoon to take the garlic out, then I put in the sprouts, keep them pretty hot (contrary to recipe), flip them only when they’ve carmelized, and then, at the end, pour in some wine, toss the garlic back in, add salt, stir, clamp down a lid and reduce the heat. Five minutes later they’re ready to go. (OK, I realize by this point I’m not even trying to pretend I’m doing what the recipe says, but it was a good start.) Finish it off with a bit of lemon squeezed over them–anything green and garlicky can stand the lemon treatment. So the lesson, for me? In some cases you gotta burn it to save it.
Fun fact: Say “Brussels sprout” out loud. If you’re saying it right, it will sound wrong.