You wouldn’t believe it based on the amount of brussel sprouts I eat on a regular basis now but the first time I tried a brussel sprout it was on a cruise ship and I hated them. I can only imagine the pressure of cooking a gajillion meals for folks who do nothing all day but lay by a pool floating on a bigger pool, but truth be told they were gross. Sorely undercooked, bitter, and lacking any and every kind of salt. As far as first impressions go, brussel sprouts and I had a bad one. And apparently I wasn’t the only one they rubbed the wrong way because y’all brussel sprouts are the number one hated food in America.
Liiike, licorice I get (although fennel, yum) because it can be pretty abrasive and the only kind of black food I like to eat are nigella seeds, and I understand people having weird texture issues with mushrooms because sometimes they can be unavoidably chewy – I’m looking at you oyster mushroom. One time in college, I had a teacher who asked people if they were offended by mayonnaise and honestly I think that’s a great way to judge someone, too.
If you’re wondering – I’m not offended by mayonnaise at all except the one thing that’s always kind of weirded me out was the thought of putting straight mayonnaise on a chicken breast pre-cooking. I think it’s because it reminds me of that super ridiculous fast-food horror story about a girl who ordered a sandwich hold the mayo and you can probably guess the rest if you wanted.
Maybe because they look like baby lettuces and anything baby-ed is wonderful, but I decided to give brussel sprouts another chance a few years ago. If anyone was going to make them how I liked them, it would be me. So I went to the farmers market and picked up a stalk which is oddly intimidating and I brought them home and I did what I do best: tossed them with olive oil and garlic powder and popped them in the oven for long enough to not need a knife to cut them.
The roasted brussel sprouts were super crispy on the outside and buttery on the inside and I decided that they probably just had a bad day on the cruise ship and I shouldn’t hold it against them. Since then, I’ve been making these little boogers any and every which way possible. This recipe for sautéed shredded brussel sprouts may be one of my favorites though. It’s bright and acidic but has some really dimensionalized, elevated flavors: toasted pecans, quick caramelized red onions, and dates (a staple in my house).
SAUTEED SHREDDED BRUSSEL SPROUTS (with caramelized onions, dates + pecans)
(serves 4-6, side dish)
for the caramelized onions:
1 large red onion, peeled halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
for the brussel sprouts:
4 cups shredded brussel sprouts
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dried pitted dates, chopped
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh crushed black pepper
Start by caramelizing the onions. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet set on medium heat until melted. Add the thinly sliced red onion, using a wooden spoon to break the half moons apart and coat with the olive oil/butter mixture. Add the salt and toss. Lower the heat to medium low, cover the skillet with a lid and let cook for 5 minutes undisturbed. Remove the lid and sauté for another 10 minutes. Add the sugar, toss, and sauté until a medium golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Add the balsamic vinegar and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove the onions from the skillet and set aside.
Add the olive oil to the same skillet you used to caramelize the onions set over medium heat. Add the shredded brussel sprouts and sauté about 6 minutes until soft but still bright green. Add the caramelized onions, dates, pecans, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature, and enjoy!