Vegetable villain? Not even close
As a child, I was a serious brussel sprout skeptic. Even though I’d never actually eaten a brussel sprout, I assumed I hated them because I’d heard somewhere that I should. I considered them right up there with the lima beans my father made me eat on a weekly basis. He’d make me sit at the dinner table until every last bright green bean disappeared. It seems I’m not the only one who thinks they hate brussel sprouts. A recent slate.com story referrred to the vegetable as “America’s most hated veggie.” In the same story, the writer referenced a 2008 survey by Heinz that showed “brussels sprouts now take the most-hated prize for Americans in general, with eggplant faring slightly worse among kids.” Ouch. After eating Chef Pascal Coudouy’s brussel sprouts at 8100 in the Park Hyatt last week, I can now with certainty say brussel sprouts have become one of my top five favorite vegetables. Chef Coudouy makes his with honey and pancetta and finishes it off with Champagne vinegar, which adds a lovely tangy flavor. The secret is to use fresh, not frozen, brussel sprouts. And whatever you do, don’t cook them so damn long that they give off that strong odor. Even when they’re cooked simply – slow-roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper – the mini-cabbages are downright delicious. And on top of being delicious, the little green gems contain sulforaphane, a chemical that’s believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. So really, what’s not to love?Here’s the recipe:8100 Brussel SproutsCourtesy of Chef Pasqual Coudouy2 cups fresh Brussel Sprouts1/2 cup honey3 Tablespoons pancetta, diced into 1/8-inch-square pieces1/4 cup Champagne VinegarSalt and pepper to tasteRinse the brussel sprouts under cold water, then trim off the bottoms and cut in half. In a saute pan, render the pancetta until golden brown. Drain grease in a different container. Heat a saute pan to medium. Add oil first, then brussel sprouts. Cover for two minutes to steam. Saute until they start to wilt. Add pancetta and deglaze with champagne vinegar. Saute for one minute then add honey and salt and pepper to taste. Saute until brussel sprouts are fully coated with honey.