Thursday, September 20, 2012

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar

Saturday is officially the start of Autumn, but I couldn't help getting a head start on fall flavors when I saw this gorgeous stalk of Brussels sprouts in the produce section of my local grocery store. 

I know, I know, not everyone likes Brussels sprouts.  And it is true, they taste mostly like sour cabbage when they are boiled, but when roasted, their sugars caramelize allowing a natural nuttiness to shine through.  Add a little balsamic vinegar to finish them off and Brussels sprouts are suddenly a hit, even with people who swear they aren't fans. 

Taking the sprouts off the stalk is easy, just pull down.  My four year old loved helping with this part -- permissible destruction, yes please!  I notched an X in the bottom and blanched them quickly in boiling water while the oven was preheating.

Then I cut them in half, tossed them in olive oil, salt, and pepper and put them on a baking sheet.  425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until they start to burn.  Yes, that is right, I said burn.  Don't let them char, but a little (or a lot) of dark brown is good. 

While the sprouts were roasting, I poured 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar into a saucepan and let it boil down by half, concentrating the sweetness and taking off a little of the bite.  Finally, I tossed the sprouts with the reduced vinegar after they came out of the oven, darkening them further.

Paired with this recipe for Macaroni and Cheese I found on Pintrest, it was a great meal.  (Though I tweaked the Mac and Cheese recipe by using whole milk and adding 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.)  My kids even ate the Brussels sprouts, with help from my trusty friend Ranch Dressing.