Seems like it is spring. Lots of things are sprouting through the ground. Last night, I even heard crickets. Crickets, in February! The "sprout-i-ness" around me got me thinking...
In this week celebrating love, there is an adorable veggie that could use some: brussels sprouts. I adore them, but a good number of you don't. A few of you have asked me to suggest some plant-based party menus and to a person, all have requested "No brussels sprouts!". I am not going to go into their fabulous nutritional profile, that they provide tons of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, fiber and kick-it-to-the-curb, cancer-fighting anti-oxidants and that they are cute as a button, whole or cut in half. Ahem. Focus.
It's Friday and I thought I would do a little weekend match-making, Our Green Table's version: Match. Veg. Today's match pairs a seasonal veggie/wall-flower (brussels sprouts) with a seasonal sweetie (maple syrup) and we shall see if we have a match you can love. My friends up in Vermont, New York and New Hampshire are entering sugar season and the town where I grew up in Pennsylvania, literally translated from the Native American means "Sweet Water"or Maple Syrup, PA and so, I think the timing for this match is great. Has a little romantic, folks-y history! Both are easy to find...lots of brussels sprouts, lots of delicious maple syrup in almost every store. Give this recipe a try...remember it is only a date, OK!
1 ½ pounds brussel sprouts
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon (or 10 grinds of) black pepper
2 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff!)
½ cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. To prepare the brussel sprouts, remove any yellow or brown outer leaves, cut off the stems, and cut in half.
In a large bowl, toss the brussel sprouts, olive oil, salt, and pepper together. Once all of the brussel sprouts are coated in oil, spread them into a 9x13 (or larger) baking dish or sheet tray to roast. Note: You may want to line your sheet tray with parchment papaer or foil for easy cleanup because the caramelizing process leaves a sticky residue.
After 15 minutes, stir the brussel sprouts around with a spatula or large spoon to even out the browning. After 15 minutes, stir in the maple syrup. Continue to roast the brussel sprouts for about 15 more minutes, or until they are fork tender (about 45 minutes total roasting time).Toss the roasted Brussel sprouts with the hazelnuts and go grab a fork.
*I like my brussels sprouts still a little crunchy. You may want to cook a few minutes longer.