I always liked cooking Brussels sprouts at my old communal dining space, Family Supper, because I love to get people excited about things they think they don’t like. A certain generation of people (mine included) grew up with a poor impression of sprouts based on the way they were (over)cooked, but something magical happens when you blast brassicas with hot, direct heat. They caramelize, with a blistery, crackly outside, a tender interior, and a deeply satisfying flavor. The addition of pickled mustard seeds brings just the right amount of acid and sweetness to round out the dish.
- Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
- 2½ pounds Brussels sprouts
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 10.125 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons pickled mustard seeds
- Place an empty baking sheet on an oven rack as close to the heat source as possible and preheat the broiler.
- Cut the base off of each Brussels sprout, and then cut each sprout in half lengthwise, discarding any floppy outer leaves.
- In a large mixing bowl, toss the sprouts with the oil. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper and toss well to combine (this is a good place to practice the aerial salting method).
- Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the broiler (use a double layer of kitchen towels or oven mitts) and lay the sprouts in a single layer across the pan. Return the pan to the oven and set a timer for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes, stir the sprouts and rotate the pan 180 degrees to ensure the sprouts caramelize evenly. Set the timer for another 6 minutes. The sprouts should have a nice char on some areas and be vibrant green.
- At the 12-minute mark, add the mustard seeds to the baking sheet and stir well. Broil for an additional 2 minutes. The sprouts should now be ready. When you taste one, it should be tender but not completely soft. (The sugars in the pickled mustard seeds will have caramelized a bit and can burn your mouth if you’re not careful.) I like to test one big sprout and one little sprout to get an average. Remove the finished sprouts from the hot baking sheet and serve immediately.