Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tangy and Buttery Brussels Sprouts

This recipe is an homage to the sometimes greatly adored or  highly abhorred vegetable, synonymous with the words "Eww" and "Yuck".  Brussels Sprouts are popular  in Belgium and have been since the early 13th century, with the first written account being made in 1587.  There is no undisputed evidence, but they may have originated there.
Brussels Sprouts as we know them came to the Americas around the 18th century to Louisiana, by way of the French Settlers.  Thomas Jefferson grew Brussels Sprouts at Monticello.  California encompasses the best climate and growing conditions  for these sprouts which mainly began in the 1920's.
 Modern genetics has worked to to help lessen the off putting bitter taste of these earth-like gems and make them more palatable.  They are a part of the Cruciferae family which includes cabbage, kale, collards, broccoli and kohlrabi to name a few.  Brussels Sprouts are rich in B vitamins, dietary fiber, Vitamin A, and folic acid, which is found in orange juice.  Also, they contain a compound called sinigrin, which is believed to help fight against colon cancer. They also harbor indole-3-carbinol, a compound beneficial in DNA repair.  Heart patients should be aware that excessive amounts of Brussels Sprouts may be a hindrance, because they contain a significant amount of Vitamin K, which can interfere with anti-coagulants.
Instances of over consumption, are far and in between, so do not let this notion deter you from enjoying these super leafy green antioxidant giants from time to time.!
The following recipe is a simple and delicious one, using fresh lemon and zest, a splash of seasoned rice vinegar and a small amount of real butter.  I prepared these in the microwave, as per convenience, and to promote just enough steaming to promote minimal nutrient loss.  Boiling your sprouts significantly lowers the levels of heart and colon healthy compounds, so steam, stir-fry or saute to get the most out of their benefits.  You may also half them to expedite cooking process and accommodate carmelization of surfaces.
This recipe pairs well with roasted chicken and pork.
1 lb. fresh  Brussels Sprouts, trimmed if needed
1 lemon and zest
splash of seasoned rice vinegar
2 tbsp. butter
Place sprouts in microwave safe vessel.  Add butter and about 1/4 c. water. Cover.  Microwave on high for about 6 minutes or until tender.  Pour contents onto serving vessel and squeeze the lemon juice atop and add a splash or two of the vinegar.  Grate some zest atop and SPST.   Drizzle with olive oil if desired. Serves 4 to 6.

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