Sunday, November 25, 2012

Brussels Sprouts in Butter

Walk into my apartment on a weeknight and you're likely to find two, if not three roommates in the kitchen. We've got a cushy living room and a dining room that seats 12, but more often than not we end up lounging in the kitchen--perched on some rickety Ikea stools or atop a laminate countertop. There's something about a kitchen, even one as dingy and dim as ours, that feels like more like home than any other room in the joint.

These sprouts capture that feeling of communal, casual warmth. They're a snap to toss together on a weeknight, and there's no need to stand on ceremony when you serve them--they taste best shared straight out of the pan with a side of "how was your day" conversation, standing up or perched in whatever room feels most like home. 

Brussels Sprouts in Butter
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 bag of washed and trimmed brussels sprouts
Kosher salt

1) Use a sharp knife and cutting board to cut the sprouts in quarters.
2) Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in your largest frying pan over medium-high heat. Wait til it foams. Then add the sprouts in a single layer. (This will probably be half your sprouts. You'll do a second batch after.)
3) Cover the sprouts with the top of the pan and let soften for 4-5 minutes. 
4) Uncover and toss until golden brown (or a little burnt and crispy on the edges, which is how I like these). Add salt to taste.
5) Repeat steps 2 to 4 for the rest of the sprouts. 

Notes for the Naked
  • Can't find a pan top? Use a dinner plate or a piece of foil.
  • If you struggle to get things looking all golden brown and crispy while cooking them on top of your stove, you're probably adding too much to the pan. Crowding your ingredients will cause them to steam instead of crisp up. Work in batches--you can always nibble on the first batch while the second one is cooking.
  • Kosher salt has big flakes that dissolve more slowly into food. I like tossing it on veggies before serving for more explosive flavor than regular table salt can give you.


  1. I made this recipe today and loved it!

    Question for you: I've got a bag of brussels sprouts in my freezer. How would you adapt this recipe if you were starting from frozen brussels sprouts instead of fresh?

  2. Hm. I'm not a huge fan of frozen sprouts--brussels sprouts are awful when overcooked, and since freezing changes the texture of the vegetable you end up with something closer to mush. Try this: let them defrost, and then carefully patting them dry to remove as much liquid as possible (the key to browning the veg is letting it burn a bit, not steam, and it can't do that when wet).

    Good luck!