Roasted Spicy Brussels Sprouts
I love brussels sprouts but some people hate them because they think they’re bitter. I’ve never experienced its bitterness but there are a few explanations as to why that is, and one is pretty scientific: some people, around 25% of humans supposedly, are unable to taste the bitterness of coffee, brussels sprouts, and a few other foods due to a single gene, TAS2R38 [Side note: this gene was in the news again on Monday, and it has a really interesting history regarding paternity testing]. The other explanation? Although I can’t seem to find a source that confirms this, but I’ve heard that the bitterness from the brussels sprouts comes from the ends of the vegetables — I’ve always trimmed the ends so maybe I’ll try them untrimmed next time? Anyways, whether you think they’re bitter or not, the key to great tasting food usually boils down to it being well-seasoned and well-prepared.
I hated brussels sprouts as a kid (unsurprisingly), but I’m convinced it was the way it was prepared when I had them. My mom, who is normally a very good cook, would just toss them into a brothy soup. It always tasted so bland. Ick. In fact, I didn’t even taste my first well-seasoned brussels sprouts dish until a few years ago, at Craft*. Ever since then, I can’t get enough of them especially when they’re roasted. Roasted brussels sprouts make great side dishes and they happen to be one of the easiest you-can’t-possibly-screw-up things to make.
I roasted a pound of these fresh vegetables today — seasoned with garlic, fresh pepper, and gochugaru — and it took less than ten minutes to prepare. It’s packed with flavor, and I love the smokiness from the char against the sweetness of the gochugaru. What is gochugaru, you say? I think I mentioned using it in one of my older recipe posts but I’ll have to get back to you on that one…
These particular peppers are normally used for kimchi, and a lot of other Korean dishes. It has a slightly sweet taste and it’s finer than red chili pepper flakes. Unlike red chili pepper flakes, gochugaru does not have seeds in it so it’s not as spicy — it’s a great way to add a subtle spice to a dish.
*But this was before I met Chef, of course.
For 2-4 people, comfortably:
- 1 lb. brussels sprouts
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. gochugaru (Korean chili peppers)
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400F. Clean and halve the brussels sprouts. Toss together all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and spread it on a rimmed baking sheet.
Roast for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are golden brown on the outside.
I didn’t explain the sensation and perception of taste thoroughly because I didn’t want to turn this post into an entire thesis so I just linked things. Thus, I feel obligated to conclude this post with the science news cycle as a warning.
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- ridelighteatheavy said: I love brussel season. nice post!
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- peanutxx28 said: I like Brussel sprouts but making them this way would make me Love them!!! I need to add more veggies to my diet especially since I don’t know what to eat anymore. Maybe I’ll become a vegetarian since I can’t stand the Taste of any animals. Great post!
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