Thought to have been cultivated in 16th-century Belgium, Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family and resemble tiny cabbage heads that grow on a long stalk. They are similar to cabbage in taste, but they are slightly milder in flavor and denser in texture.
Plural: Brussels sprouts
Season: September - April
How to select: Look for bright green sprouts and a tight, compact head. Yellow or wilted leaves are signs of age or mishandling. Old sprouts also have a strong, cabbage-like odor. Select sprouts that are similar in size. This will allow them to cook more evenly. Avoid sprouts that are puffy or soft. Do not wash or trim sprouts before storing them, but yellow or wilted outer leaves may be remove.
How to store: Up to 3 days in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The older they get the stronger their flavor.
How to prepare: Remove any yellow or wilted outer leaves. Trim stem ends. Be careful not to trim stems flush with the bottoms, or the outer leaves will fall off during cooking. Cut a shallow "x" in the base with a small, sharp knife. This will allow the heat to penetrate the solid core so that it cooks as quickly as the leaves.
Matches well with: almonds, apples, bacon, bread crumbs, butter, carrots, cheese, cream, eggs, garlic, grapefruit, ham, hollandaise sauce, lemon, mushrooms, mustard, nutmeg, onions, parsley, pepper, rosemary, thyme, vinegar, walnuts
Substitutions: brussel sprout = broccoli flowerets