Serves 2-8 (depending on how much you like your veggies)
I have always liked brussels sprouts. I can’t explain it. It might have started with the microwave brussels in “cheez” sauce that my dad made for me when I was tiny. (I think he bought them by accident; usually he and I used to nom on broccoli in cheese-like sauce.)
That said, brussels sprouts can be really hard to cook well:
- If you roast them, they can be very dry.
- If you steam them, you don’t get that nice nutty, full flavor
- If you overcook them (via any method), you get that sulfurous, cabbage-family stink.
The trick is to use both moist and dry heat
I experimented with a few different methods: covering the roasting dish, par-boiling and then roasting, etc. Those both helped, but didn’t quite produce the effect I wanted.
But then I found an easy solution: use frozen brussels – and don’t thaw them first!
Frozen sprouts hold more moisture than fresh ones
Frozen sprouts are full of ice crystals. And as those crystals melt and heat up, they steam the inside of the sprout, keeping the inner layers plump and moist.
At the same time, the dry heat from the outside roasts the sprouts, getting the outer layers nice and crispy-brown.
Add a splash of flavorful olive oil and a dash of aromatic garlic powder, and you have something really special.
All made from things that you pulled out of the freezer or pantry, and dumped directly into the pan!
– one 10oz box of frozen brussels sprouts, unthawed
– 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (or a lot more, to taste)
– a generous shake (appx. 1/2 tsp) garlic powder (or a lot more, to taste)
– salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 425F – but any temperature between 350 and 450F will work!
(See note below.)
Toss the brussels sprouts, still frozen, with the olive oil and garlic powder, until they are evenly-coated. Place in a single layer in a baking dish and roast, turning once or twice, until heated through and darkly browned on at least one side (usually the bottom), around 35-45 minutes. Salt to taste.
This is tasty enough to be a holiday side dish, and easy enough for everyday meals. I think it’s especially good alongside lamb, roasted chicken or turkey, and roast beef. But any dish with a roasted character or with garlic (but not tomatoes) would probably work really well.
As with most of my recipes, the quantities are approximate, and don’t really matter all that much. Just be generous with the olive oil and garlic powder, and you’ll be fine.
While this dish is best when roasted at about 400-425, it will work just fine at anything from 350-450. So you can just throw it in the oven with whatever else you’re cooking. (Except desserts: you really don’t want them smelling like yummy roasting garlic. Unless you do…)
These reheat beautifully. For a holiday meal, dinner party, or busy day, you can do most of the cooking ahead of time, and then reheat and finish crisping just before serving.
If you’re in a hurry, you can thaw the brussels in the fridge or microwave, which cuts the cooking time about in half. I think the texture turns out best cooked directly from frozen.
I usually prefer to work with fresh ingredients, but you you really do get better results (especially when it comes to texture ) from frozen sprouts and garlic powder.
If you do the tossing in the roasting dish, you have only one dish to wash!