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I tripped over something at the farmer’s market the other day, and before a slew of curse words flew out of my potty mouth, I saw the culprit—a brussel sprout. And I couldn’t be angry anymore. There are gorgeous heaping piles of them everywhere, on their weird stalks. Did you think they grew in the ground, like teeny tiny cabbages? That’s OK.
My favorite brussel sprout preparation has nothing to do with those sad, water-logged steamed things you get in bad restaurants or from bad mommies. But it is labor intensive. Try to marry someone obedient and detail-oriented who will core each one and pull off the leaves. Then sautée the leaves in a little olive or vegetable oil until they wilt and brown slightly. Give them plenty of salt, a few handfuls of toasted pignoli nuts, and a drizzle of walnut oil.
It’s also a good time to learn to love cauliflower, which as a child I thought tasted “like barf.” Now I cut them into dainty “florettes,” not wasting all the stems, and braise them with garlic and anchovies. Don’t knock it till you try it. It’s a perfect combination as a side dish or tossed with pasta.