I remember being ten-years-old, coming home from school and asking my parents what they were making for dinner that night. Usually it was delicious things, like spaghetti and meatballs, grilled chicken or burgers. My parents would always cook a side; usually some sort of roasted root vegetable or baked beans; classic American home cooking that a majority of people would be happy to eat.
Yet I’ll never forget the day my mom told me she was making Brussels sprouts as the side dish. The second she said that, I threw up in my mouth, solely since my entire knowledge of Brussels sprouts was based off the cartoon-created stigma that they were disgusting and meant for the elderly.
Oh, how I was mistaken. Despite my crying and bickering, my mom went through with the Brussels sprouts and when she took them out of the oven, oh boy it hit me. My house was filled with the heavenly smell of roasted garlic and olive oil, my stomach was grumbling and I think I may have been drooling.
I asked my mom, “What smells so good?”
“It’s the Brussels sprouts, Sammy. You are going to like them, trust me.”
I gave in. The crisp outer leaves of the sprout had a strong, flavorful crunch. The inside was soft, but not too soft. The garlic and olive oil accented the sprouts perfectly, and it was then and there that I found my new favorite side dish.
Now, fast forward to present day. I am in my apartment on a Sunday as the 4:00 p.m. football games are coming to an end. This gives me an hour to make something delicious. What do I make? Why, nothing other than my beloved roasted Brussels sprouts. I gather my ingredients: raw Brussels sprouts, olive oil, three cloves of garlic and two pinches of kosher salt. I begin by quickly undressing the outer leaves from the raw Brussels sprouts. I then cut off the stems of the sprouts, and then this is where the magic happens. I cut the Brussels sprouts in half, a craft that I learned from my friend’s father, Andrew Schneeloch.
Mr. Schneeloch told me, “Cut the Brussels sprouts in half so it soaks up more of the garlic flavor.”
Once the sprouts are cut, I cut the garlic cloves in half only to throw it all into a large bowl. I drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over the sprouts, sprinkle my two pinches of kosher salt and stir until the Brussels sprouts are coated. Once the oven has preheated to 400, I put them in for 35 to 40 minutes, depending on how crispy I want them.
35 minutes elapse, and my friends who came over for Sunday Night Football are wondering what smells so good. The timer goes off and I take the Brussel sprouts out of the oven, looking and smelling irresistible. One of my friends goes straight for it all and
burns his mouth, which I do not advise.
We wait about five or ten minutes, then dig in to a healthy and flavorful side dish.