Cast Iron Cooked Brussels Sprouts

You want to know the best way to hate these mini cabbages? Boil them to death to draw out that zingy bitterness from the mushy mess. Yuck-o. Want to know the best way to fall in love with these little gems? Roast them in an oven OR cook them on high on the stove with a cast iron skillet. They'll retain a lovely crunch with an almost sweet, nutty flavor (sometimes with a slight mustard bitter kick at the end for a good time all around). 

I buy mine on the stalk at Trader Joe's not only because the sprouts stay fresher longer, but because it's plain fun. (It is like a mighty sword of brussels sprouts!) Look for tight little heads, compact, firm and livingly green. 

To prepare them for a cast iron cooking, remove the heads from the stalk by cutting at the base and cut in half. Heat up your cast iron on medium to medium high heat. When it's hot and ready, add 1 tsp of olive oil and tilt the pan to coat the bottom. Add each brussels sprout half, cut side on the pan, being careful about the water hitting the oil (ouch!). 

Let it cook for about 1 minute. With the lid ready, pour in about 1/4 C of water or chicken broth and cover immediately. What you want to do is steam the sprouts a little bit, cooking away the liquid without fully cooking the sprouts. This will take some practice, but while you're learning remember to check on your sprouts by taste testing one or two as it's cooking. If it's cooking faster than the liquid is evaporating, then take the lid off. When the liquid is fully evaporated, the sprouts should still be uncooked but the outer leave should be a brighter green and a little softer. 

Remove the lid and keep cooking until the cut side of the sprouts turn a nice roasted color. Stir to cook the other sides and then season with salt and pepper. If you'd like garlic, add it before you pour in the liquid. A few minced cloves will do the trick.

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