Brussels sprouts were an adult discovery for me. I can't remember the first time I tried them, but I fell immediately in love with the ease of roasting a pan of Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt and the deliciousness that results. I particularly love the rogue leaves that separate from the main sprout and get super crispy and salty. In my opinion, Brussels sprouts are the closest you can get to bacon in vegetable form.
I do remember learning that Brussels sprouts grown on stalks at the Borough Market in London (I was so astonished by this that I took the picture below).
I usually keep my cooking of Brussels sprouts healthy by roasting them as described above. However, we hosted Thanksgiving last year and in an effort to mix things up, I tried this recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms and Cream from Fine Cooking. If you prep the mushrooms and Brussels sprouts ahead of time, this dish comes together quickly and I've found that you can reduce the amount of cream by half and still keep the creaminess and flavor that results. Cooking the sprouts this way is a delicious treat for a special occasion.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Wild Mushrooms and Cream
Adapted from Fine Cooking
Note - The original recipe notes that the Brussels sprouts can be roasted and the mushrooms seared up to 8 hours ahead of time (and then pick up with Step 4 below when you want to serve the dish).
1-1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise (5 cups)
5 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 lb. mushrooms (I've used chanterelles and baby portabellas), halved if small or cut into 1-inch wedges (about 4-1/2 cups)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken/vegetable stock (I've used both with good results)
1/2 cup heavy cream (and you might use even less - see Step 4 below for details)
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F.
2. Put the Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet, and drizzle with 3 Tbs. of the olive oil; toss to coat. Spread the Brussels sprouts in an even layer and season generously with salt. Roast until tender and browned, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
3. Heat a 12-inch skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and 2 Tbs. of the butter. When the butter has melted, add the mushrooms in an even layer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden-brown and tender and the mushroom liquid (if any) has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and transfer to a plate.
4. Set the skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 Tbs. butter. When the butter has melted, add the shallot, season with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine or stock and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Return the mushrooms to the pan and add the Brussels sprouts and 1/4 cup of cream. If you think this amount sufficiently coats the sprouts and mushrooms, you might not need to add more - but judge for yourself based on how creamy you'd like the dish to be. I wouldn't add more than 1/2 cup in total. Stir in a few grinds of pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the cream thickens and coats the vegetables nicely, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.