Scary foods #1: Brussels sprouts

A few weeks ago I had a group of friends over for dinner. I think I mentioned that I was making roast chicken, but I didn’t mention anything about the side dishes. Upon arrival, one of my excellent friends casually asked what we were having. “Roast chicken, potato gratin, and brussels sprouts” was my reply. The instant the last two words passed my lips, looks of sheer horror and revulsion appeared on the faces of everyone in the room. Perhaps I’m a walking freak show, but I’ve never had a problem with our tiny cabbage-like friends. How can such a tiny, spherical nubbin of a vegetable cause otherwise normal adults to instantly revert to a group of three year olds who are horrified of putting anything green in their mouth? Admittedly, I am being a bit dramatic about the reaction, but what is the resistance many people have to eating brussels sprouts? Is there some widespread childhood trauma people have undergone that I somehow avoided? Thank goodness I am around to dish out tasty helpings of therapy. By the end of the night, all of my sprouts were gone and everyone went back for seconds.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

adapted from Gourmet, January 2001

Brussels sprouts, fresh from the farmer's market


1 pound Brussels sprouts

2 oz. pancetta, chopped

2 T olive oil

salt and pepper


  1. Trim and half brussels sprouts (quarter them if they are really large)
  2. Toss the sprouts with the pancetta and olive oil, salt and pepper liberally.
  3. Roast at 450 F for about 20 minutes, until the pancetta is cooked and the sprouts are lightly caramelized.  

    Ready to roast

  4. If the sprouts seem dry, stir in 1/4 cup of water.

    Therapy for cruciferous childhood trauma



Filed under Vegetables and Sides

7 responses to “Scary foods #1: Brussels sprouts

  1. Sara

    I actually made roasted Brussel sprouts with bacon last night. I used the recipe out of Ruth Reichl’s book. My sister who never had them before loved them.

    They are great braised in cream or sauteed in butter and finished with lemon juice, too.

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  3. Ilze

    Even people who usually hate Brussels sprouts, will love it. I used to be one of those – filled with hatred:). But now I am converted.

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  5. Christine

    I made brussel sprouts tonight, pan fried with salt, pepper, and finely grated cheese — tomorrow I will cook the rest of them with jowl bacon (closed thing I have to pancetta). Yum! Thanks for the idea.

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